River of Silence

River of Silence

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Tanis Wolf (Roseanne Supernault) is an Indigenous university student who goes missing on the drive to her grandmother's reserve. Her parents implore a disinterested police force to launch a search. Not content to wait, they join locals who know the terrain in an extensive search and eventually find her car and body by the river. The tragedy send Tanis's supportive family, including her successful mother, gallerist Helen Wolf (Mariel Belanger), and her caring father, artist Nathan Wolf (Stan Isadore) into a spiral of suffering.

Written, directed and produced by Cree filmmakers Petie Chalifoux and Micheal Auger, the screenplay is anchored in Chalifoux's direct experience of family grief--her grandmother's disappearance on a remote road near Lesser Slave Lake remains a cold case. With such a tragedy striking a loving, high-functioning family, River of Silence challenges media stereotypes of missing and murdered Indigenous women as being ones who put themselves at risk. And it challenges a media bias that, as Micheal Auger puts it, "... vilifies Indigenous men so they get reduced to virtually nothing."

"Beautiful cinematography of the wilderness near Merritt, British Columbia portrays the land as place of beauty, of spirituality, a place of safety that it has always been in the Indigenous world view. The murder of yet another Indigenous woman in such a sacred place reflects the cognitive dissonance entrenched in a colonial worldview of the land as a place to take from and destroy."

- Sylvia Jonescu Lisitza


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