Aboriginal director shoots sci-fi film in Tsilhqot'in language

Cameras will roll in Prince Rupert, B.C., on Monday on a science-fiction film shot entirely in the Tsilhqot'in language, which its director says will be the first time an indigenous language has been used in the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

Cameras will roll in Prince Rupert, B.C., on Monday on a science-fiction film shot entirely in the Tsilhqot'in language, which its director says will be the first time an indigenous language has been used in the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

The film, whose title translates to Cave, will be directed by Tsilhqot'in filmmaker Helen Haig-Brown and produced by Leena Minifie, a Tsimshian woman originally from Prince Rupert, B.C.

Minifie said more than 25 people from the Tsilhqot'in community around Williams Lake, B.C., are in the cast.

The idea for the film emerged when Haig-Brown was asked by the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival to be part of the Embargo Collective, a group of seven established aboriginal directors from around the world.

Minifie said the collective established a rule that the films can use only aboriginal languages.

In the past, Haig-Brown has made documentaries based on her personal experiences.

In 2005, her film about the death of her older brother, Su Naa, won Best Experimental at the imagineNATIVE Festival in Toronto.

Last year, she collaborated with her aunt Celia Haig-Brown to produce Pelqilcv (Coming Home), a film about the legacy of the residential school system in the Kamloops, B.C., area.

The film, based on a book Celia Haig-Brown wrote in 1988, premiered in 2008.

Cave will be Haig-Brown's first foray into making a science-fiction film and restricting herself to a native language.

"I didn't expect to be thrown such a big curve, but I'm up for it," she said in a news release.