Canadian feature film Run Woman Run sees mainstream success and more Indigenous people being represented in the film industry.
Filmed on a shoestring budget, writer and director Zoe Leigh Hopkins brings to the screen a story about a single mother who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, is struggling with her mother’s suicide and caring for her father, sister and son.
The film was shot on Six Nations (Ontario), the largest First Nations reserve in Canada.
It features many Indigenous creatives, encouraging more First Nations to try their hand at the film industry.
The main character is played by Dene Indigenous woman Dakota Ray Hebert while supporting character Tom is played by Asivak Koostachin, a steadfast presence in Indigenous cinema.
Director and writer Ms Hopkins is a Helitsuk and Mohawk woman.
Run Woman Run reflects Hopkins’ real-life experience of learning Mohawk whilst the main character Beck also desires to learn the language.
At a screening of the film in Six Nations, Hopkins said it had been motivating to see Ongwehonwe people find their space in the industry.
“Nowadays it’s really nice to go on a set and see it’s really equal with men and women on this particular show I’m working on,” she said.
“There’s not a job that’s female specific or male specific so you can be anything you want in this film industry.
“Being in the film industry is so great because I’ve been able to travel the world and go to film festivals and meet other Ongwehonwe people around the world.”
Working alongside Hopkins on the film was CBC broadcaster and Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations woman Carla Robinson.
Ms Robinson said it was powerful watching main character Beck’s desire to learn her language.
“That’s taking back her power and it’s so amazing to bring our language into storytelling,” she said.
“Storytelling is magic. You get lost in that world and it’s so powerful.”
Released in October 2021, the film is expected to be on Crave later this year.