CANADA—The Stephen Campanelli-directed movie ‘Indian Horse,’ based on the best-selling Richard Wagamese novel by the same name, is in theatres this Friday, April 13 and starring Wiikwemkoong’s own Sladen Peltier as a young Saul Indian Horse—the film’s protagonist.
In a previous interview with The Expositor, Sladen noted that it was during his annual trip to the Little NHL that he saw a posting looking for First Nations people with excellent skating skills to be cast in a movie. Sladen’s mom Katelin Gillis decided he should take a chance and signed him up.
Some months and many auditions later, Sladen was cast in the role of the young Saul Indian Horse and acted alongside Forrest Goodluck (‘The Revenant’), Michiel Huisman (‘The Age of Adaline’) and Michael Murphy (‘Fall,’ ‘Away from Her’ and ‘X-Men’). The film also stars newcomers AJ Kapashesit and Edna Manitouwabe, with Melanie McLaren (‘Tkaronoto’) and Johnny Issaluk (‘Two Lovers and a Bear’).
The film was shot in locations at Killarney, Sudbury and Peterborough.
A synopsis of the film reads: “In the late 1950s in Ontario, seven-year-old Saul Indian Horse is torn from his Ojibway family and committed to one of Canada’s notorious Catholic residential schools. In this oppressive environment, Saul is denied the freedom to speak his language or embrace his Indigenous heritage and he witnesses horrendous abuse at the hands of the very people entrusted with his care. Despite this, Saul finds salvation in the unlikeliest of places and favourite Canadian pastime—hockey. Fascinated by the game, he secretly teaches himself to not only play but develops a unique and rare skill. He seems to see the game in a way no other player can.
“His talent leads him away from the misery of the school to a Northern Ontario Native league and eventually the pros,” continues the release. “But the ghosts of Saul’s past are always present, and threaten to derail his promising career and future. Forced to confront his painful past, Saul draws on the spirit of his ancestors and the understanding of his friends to begin the process of healing.”
Check your local listings to catch ‘Indian Horse’ in theatres this weekend.