The Lesser Blessed tells universal story of alienation
N.W.T.-set film focuses on experiences of First Nations teen
Posted: Oct 22, 2012 5:09 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2012 5:36 PM ET
The film combines a universal story about feeling like an outsider with the unique tale of a young man who has to overcome much hardship in his young life.
Based on the novel of the same name by Dene author Richard Van Camp, the story is set in the Northwest Territories and follows a Tlicho teenager, Larry Sole, through some of his high school experiences.
The Lesser Blessed is written and directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Anita Doron and has a mostly Canadian cast including Chloe Rose (Degrassi), Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga), Benjamin Bratt, Tamara Podemski as Verna Sole and Joel Evans as Larry Sole.
The film was shot in Sudbury, in part because of the lack of government incentives for movie-making in the Northwest Territories. But it still manages to cinematically capture the feelings of social, cultural and geographical isolation of the original novel.
“I feel like Anita totally captured that —what it’s like to be in the middle of nowhere, so far away from everybody — that it’s both in a geographic sense and in the social sense of being an outsider,” says Tamara Podemski who plays Larry Sole's mother.
“He was a boy who couldn’t be more different. But he’s not so different because he’s Indian, he’s different because he’s traumatized, and that’s the beautiful part about the story.”
Podemski has had to face her own challenges as a native actor.
“I’ve never only been put out for native roles, but I only get cast in native roles. I can’t say that it’s been a bad thing,” she says.
“I’ve often been told ‘It’s so interesting that you have only done native roles, or have chosen to do native roles.’ And they don’t understand that it’s not a choice. We (native actors) are told where we can be seen, how we can be seen, and who we can be seen with on the screen.”
“It takes courageous producers filmmakers, writers, to fight for their stories to be told,” says Podemski.
It seemed to be a great feat to get this indie film made – taking seven years from the time it was a figment of the imagination of director and screenwriter Doron. Van Camp, the novel’s author, worked with Doron from the beginning, even opening up his home to her so she could capture the feel of the N.W.T.
The Lesser Blessed is most certainly a First Nations story about a young man’s struggle for identity and healing, but it’s also a story that is universally felt. And that is what makes this film beautiful, that we can all relate no matter what colour of skin we have.
- Pushing Chinese stars beyond gimmick Hollywood roles by Jessica Wong May. 22, 2013 4:49 PM Li Bingbing is the latest comely Chinese face joining a major Hollywood production -- in this case, Michael Bay's fourth instalment of Transformers. With Hollywood eager to tap into China's massive movie-going audience, it's become de rigueur to score a beautiful and popular Chinese actress for tentpole movies. However, some Chinese moviegoers want more than gimmicky roles for their homegrown stars and nonsensical cuts of blockbusters screened in China alone.
Top News Headlines
- Court freezes assets in widening SNC-Lavalin probe
- The RCMP are moving to freeze millions of dollars in bank accounts and real estate holdings in Montreal and Florida in their expanding probe into Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Harper no Obama when it comes to dealing with scandals
- Beset by three so-called scandals at the moment, Barack Obama has been meeting his accusers and the press head on, Neil Macdonald writes. The same cannot be said for how Stephen Harper operates. more »
- U.K. emergency committee meets after London attack
- WARNING: This story contains graphic content. The British government's emergency committee is going to meet after two attackers butchered a man in a brutal daylight attack in London that officials say had signs of being motivated by radical Islam. more »
- Needed: New approaches to defuse 'suicide contagion' among teens
- Mental health experts say we need to find new ways to refer to and discuss suicide, particularly now that a large medical study has confirmed that teens are more susceptible to the idea if they know a schoolmate who died that way. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Beatles lyrics donated to British Library
- The British Library on Wednesday added substantially to its already formidable collection with handwritten lyrics to Beatles' classics Strawberry Fields Forever, She Said She Said and In My Life. more »
- Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart crack jokes about Rob Ford
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's woes over crack cocaine allegations are providing plenty of late-night TV fodder for Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart and other comedians south of the border. more »
- Lydia Davis wins $93K Man Booker International Prize
- Lydia Davis, an American writer of short stories —some of them just a single line long — has won the £60,000 ($93,230 Cdn) Man Booker International Prize. more »
- Battle of the Blades back in CBC fall-winter lineup
- CBC-TV has released a fall lineup that includes the return of Battle of the Blades and new international co-production Crossing Lines. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 22, 2013 11:03 AM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- Juvenile inmates benefiting from Russian literature May. 22, 2013 4:21 PM A juvenile correctional facility in Virginia has seen the behavioural benefits of encouraging their inmates to read the works of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
- Killing near London barracks probed as 'terror' act
- 2nd suspect named in Tim Bosma slaying
- Rob Ford fired as Don Bosco Eagles football coach
- Senators' Alfredsson on defeating Penguins: 'Probably not'
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- Xbox One: A closer look
- Plumber's car explodes near Vancouver apartments
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- 1.3 million Montrealers face boil water advisory