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This is a story of resilience, of finding strength in your roots.

These are the words of Cloud Moves Away, elder among the Anishinaabe people, who have survived generations of genocide and abuse by the Canadian government. Through a childhood of state-sponsored indoctrination, fear, and shame, this man rediscovered the strength of his ancestors. He now teaches others – both Anishinaabe and otherwise – to find themselves by walking the old road and the new.

This film was shot in 2 1/2 days by two guys and a dog, using one SLR, one Rode mic, and one old Toyota pickup. The BTS was shot on a pair of Sony Action Cams.

We left on May 12 to drive over 4,000kms to discover a story that needed telling. We found it at an ancient fasting ceremony, revived by Anishinaabe elder Cloud Moves Away and those who taught it to him.

We spent three weeks driving around northern Ontario, hiking through woods, asking favours, making friends, and questioning ourselves.

All those seen and heard in this film contributed as a favour, and because they believe in its message. Because of this, we had to arrange an extremely tight schedule around the busy lives they all lead.

Our actor and dancer, Clyde, didn’t know he was going to be acting until we showed up, and we only had 3 hours to prepare and shoot all the scenes with him, so almost all of the shots were single takes with location and natural light changes done in real-time. We hadn’t met him before, and we were extremely lucky that he is a natural actor, and that his schedule coincided with the best light.

The main, dramatic song at the end of the film was recorded on-location in a park at 10:30pm in a single take. We met the artist who wrote and performed it at the fasting ceremony.

Simple special effects were done using fire, and by burning steel wool to make sparks.

The journey to creating this film was life-changing for both of us.

Vote for “Two Roads – One Man’s Story of Resilience” at the 2015 My Rode Reel Short Film Competition

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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1 Comment

  1. Wahbe Meegwun Kwe

    Chi miigwetch for sharing such a painful and beautiful story. This is one that is shared by many of our people and should be heard by all. For those who are not able to tell their story: know that you are not alone and that if you feel that you are not ready to share your story, I send you love and courage.


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