A made-in-Alberta Aboriginal fantasy feature that has been making the rounds at film festivals around the world will begin its run in Canadian theatres this week.

The Northlander, which was filmed in Drumheller and Writing-on-Stone provincial park, opens Wednesday night at Landmark Cinemas 16 Country Hills.

The movie is set in a far future without technology or society, where humans are struggling to survive because of a lack of food and water.

The Northlander

Some of the scenes in The Northlander were shot in hoodoos in Drumheller, Alta. (Manifold Pictures)

A group of people, called Last Arc, are being threatened by a heretic tribe and the only one who can save them is a hunter named Cygnus (Corey Sevier) — who is sent across the desert to defend his people.

The director, Benjamin Ross Hayden, told the Calgary Eyeopener that the story is based on Louis Riel and his journey for identity.

"I went into directing it to answer a question, 'What a Canadian movie can be? How is this story about Canada?"

Benjamin Ross Hayden

Benjamin Ross Hayden, 25, is the director of The Northlander. (Tom Cameron)

For the 25-year-old Metis Calgarian, that meant hiring First Nations actors.

"I need a cast with a strong Canadian identity," said Hayden.

"It started with Michelle Thrush (Blackstone, North of 60, Arctic Air). When she came into my mind I literally reinvented characters just to find place for her in this story."


​With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

Corrections

  • In an earlier version of this story, we said The Northlander screened at the Cannes Film Festival. In fact, the movie was shown at an Alberta film industry event that runs alongside Cannes.
    Oct 12, 2016 9:15 AM MT