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Canada: Film shoot moved after being denied permission over indigenous character

15 June 2017

Hollywood film shoot moved to British Columbia after Parks Canada denied permission to film in Alberta due to indigenous gang leader character in plot.

The Hollywood production of Liam Neeson-starring film ‘Hard Powder’ has moved into the province of British Columbia after their application with Parks Canada for permission to film in the province of Alberta was denied due to concerns over an indigenous gang leader character, reported CBC News on 15 March 2017

“They objected to the fact that a First Nations person was a bad guy – not the bad buy, but one of the bad guys,” film production’s unit manager Mark Voyce told The Washington Post on 14 March 2017.

Film producer Michael Shamberg told the newspaper he was “disappointed and frustrated” by what he described as an “opaque application process” with Parks Canada.

Parks Canada’s spokesperson Meaghan Bradley said decision for such permissions were made locally by staff at the parks where the filming would take place, reported The Toronto Star on 8 March 2017.

Bradley further explained:

The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. In addition to some administrative details and outstanding documentation, Parks Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and respect for indigenous peoples was an important factor in the agency’s final decision on this matter. Parks Canada maintains the right to refuse applications that are not in line with Parks Canada’s mandate or operational priorities.

The gang leader character is played by First Nations actor Tom Jackson who is also acting as a consultant to the film’s production.

“I have taken a strong stance to ensure that the humility and integrity of First Nation roles do not cross the line of disrespect to my culture. I don’t feel my culture is insulted even slightly by the script,” Jackson said.

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