Ottawa

Meet 2 of Ottawa's young stars turning heads at TIFF

Sladen Peltier and Courtney Shannon Caines, both from Ottawa, star in films debuting at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Courtney Shannon Caines, Sladen Peltier starring in films debuting at Toronto festival

Sladen Peltier stars in Indian Horse, a film version of the Richard Wagamese novel debuting at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. (Submitted)

Courtney Shannon Caines and Sladen Peltier, it's time for your close-ups.

The pair of young Ottawa actors walked the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival for the first time after Caines starred in a new film by acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky, and Peltier appeared in another movie based on a novel by respected Canadian author Richard Wagamese.

"I was very nervous for it! I wasn't sure what to expect or what would be happening," Caines told CBC Radio's All in a Day earlier this week. "But yeah — I had a really good time."

Caines stars in mother!, a psychological thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem as a married couple living in a bucolic home she's lovingly restoring after a mysterious tragedy.

The pair's quiet life, however, is turned upside-down and their relationship tested by the arrival of bizarre, uninvited guests. 


'Disturbing' film leaves impression

In order to keep the film's various twists a secret, Caines said she would only get scripts for the scenes she starred in — and only on the day those scenes were shot.

The 16-year-old had to swear her own mother to secrecy, and only saw the finished film in its entirety when it screened earlier this week in Toronto.

While she kept her promise to not reveal the film's plot, she did tell All in a Day host Alan Neal that the "disturbing" film left an impression.

"I get scared really easily! And it's not just a current scare — it lingers," she said. "So I'll be doing something else, and I'll still be scared."

Indian Horse Peltier's first role 

Peltier, meanwhile, stars in Indian Horse, a film based on the novel of the same name by Wagamese.

Indian Horse tells the story of Saul Indian Horse, an Ojibway boy sent to residential school who finds respite in the game of hockey.

Peltier plays Saul as a young boy. He got the role not because of an extensive acting resumé, but because his mom picked up a flyer while he was in Toronto for a hockey tournament.

"So she asked me, 'Do you want to audition for a movie?' And I was like, 'Yeah!'" the 10-year-old told CBC News recently. "I didn't think I was going to get it, because it was my first time ever auditioning for a movie."

The film's producers interviewed hundreds of kids from across North America for the part, but in the end went with Peltier — in part because the young hockey player already possessed serious on-ice skills.

Sladen Peltier plays the young Saul in the film version of Richard Wagamese's novel Indian Horse. The character also happens to be the Ottawa boy's first acting role. (CBC)

"I started playing hockey with my dad when I was two years old. [I've been at it] a pretty long while," he said.

"Saul would be the kind of guy who always thinks before he speaks. He's having a really tough time with residential schools, but hockey keeps his mind out. It's like a distraction."

TIFF runs until Sept. 17.

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