Three Feathers

Three Feathers, a graphic novel by Richard Van Camp, is set to be turned into a film this year in Fort Smith. (HighWater Press)

Residents of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories will have their second chance to appear in a film based on a Richard Van Camp story, as an open casting call will be held this weekend for a film based on his graphic novel Three Feathers. 

Last year, the community hosted the production of the short film Hickey Gone Wrong, a comedy based on another Van Camp graphic novel. However, Three Feathers deals with more serious subject matter, according to director Carla Ulrich.

"The movie is about three boys, or young men, I guess I should say," she said. "It's actually based on a myth. And basically they get into some trouble and they have to go out on the land for nine months. It's a restorative justice story.

"So when they get out on the land, that sort of changes their life, because they're learning how to get back to their roots, and stuff like that."

Three Feathers was just one of six new books published by Van Camp in 2015. The prolific Dene author, who is originally from Fort Smith but now lives in Edmonton, often sets his stories in his hometown or in "Fort Simmer," a fictionalized version of Fort Smith. 

Hickey Gone Wrong 2

Richard Van Camp on the set of Hickey Gone Wrong in Fort Smith, N.W.T. After filming Hickey Gone Wrong in 2015, Three Feathers, another film based on one of Van Camp's graphic novels, will film in the community in 2016. (Richard Van Camp)

According to Ulrich, being able to film Three Feathers in the North, with a mostly-Northern cast, is "a really big sense of pride.

"I know Richard's been trying to make films in Fort Smith for a number of years, so it feels good that we can finally accomplish that."

In addition to being filmed in the North, the film will be shot in four different languages — English, South Slavey, Cree, and Chipewyan, and will be distributed as part of a language learning resource. 

"It's gonna be a really beautiful movie," said Ulrich. "It's got a really beautiful story, but also, the whole cultural aspect and the language aspect of it, is just going to make it that much more interesting.

"But it just, at a very basic level, has a very beautiful story. So I'm really excited for people to participate, and get a chance to support us, and be in the movie as well."

Open casting calls for Three Feathers will be held in Fort Smith's recreation centre this weekend — from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 24. 

Ulrich says she is looking for youth, elders, and community members to play various roles in the film.