B.C. teacher's work in Nunavut to be subject of Hollywood film
Upcoming film The Grizzlies features Inuit youth as actors
A lawyer from Cranbrook, B.C., will soon see a chunk of his life on the big screen, as will dozens of Inuit students whose lives were changed because of his love of lacrosse.
The Grizzlies is an upcoming Hollywood movie that will tell the story of how Russ Sheppard went to Kugluktuk, Nunavut, a decade ago as a high school teacher and brought lacrosse to the community.
"The overall theme and the focus on the tremendous character these students have has been maintained," said Sheppard, who is now a lawyer and is serving as a consultant on the film.
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When Sheppard arrived in Kugluktuk, he found there was almost nothing for young people to do.
The community, 600 kilometres north of Yellowknife, was known for its suicide rate. So Sheppard introduced lacrosse to the community, and suicides plummeted.
The game was often played on snow-caked streets and was such a hit in Kugluktuk that some teenagers went to southern leagues.
Nunavut youth get chance to act in film
In February, producers went to Iqaluit to hold a performing arts workshop for Nunavut youth, who got the chance to audition for one of seven roles in the film.
"Having spent some time in the North, I'm feeling a responsibility and I'm really aware that we are doing a lot more than just making a movie and entertaining people and inspiring them through a true story of hope."
Shooting is set to begin in Iqaluit this month.
With files from Bob Keating