Public gets 1st look at Indian Horse feature film

Two weeks ahead of its TIFF premiere, the public is getting its first look at the film adaptation of the award-winning novel written by the late Ojibway author Richard Wagamese.

Film to premiere at Toronto International Film festival on Sept. 14, then hit festival circuit

Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant) is one of three actors to play Saul Indian Horse in the film adaptation of Indian Horse. (Elevation Pictures)

Two weeks ahead of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the public is getting its first look at the film adaptation of Indian Horse, based on the award-winning novel written by the late Ojibway author Richard Wagamese.  

The film follows the difficult journey of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway boy from northern Ontario who finds an escape through hockey while at a Catholic residential school. The film synopsis on TIFF's website describes Saul as a character "torn apart by the betrayals that have shaped him, but determined to never give up."

Distribution company Elevation Pictures released two short scenes from the film on Tuesday, showing Saul at two different stages of his life: One, in a confrontation with residential school staff as a young boy, played by Sladen Peltier, and the other, seen below, in the locker room with his teammates as a young man, played by Ajuawak Kapashesit.

Saul Indian Horse, played here by Ajuawak Kapashesit, debates his hockey future with teammates in this new Elevation Pictures film 0:51

Before his death, in March, Wagamese described the production as a "movie with a whole lot of dedication to follow the novel as closely as possible."

Indian Horseis directed by Stephen S. Campanelli and was adapted to the screen by writer Dennis Foon (On the Farm).

"I am truly honoured to bring Richard Wagamese's moving novel to the screen," Campanelli said in a statement.

"Saul's story has touched countless readers and it is our great hope that the movie will continue to inspire audiences and contribute in its own way to the important ongoing process of reconciliation. We are thrilled to begin the film's journey at TIFF."

Following its TIFF premiere, Indian Horse will continue on the Canadian festival circuit with screenings at the Atlantic International Film Festival, Cinefest Sudbury and the Vancouver International Film Festival.