The film features Ta’Kaiya Blaney as Ella and Dr. Evan Adams (also Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority) as Dave Ellis

Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker premieres documentary about threat of coastal spills

Zoe Hopkins, a Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker, premiered her film at imagineNATIVE in Toronto last week

Zoe Hopkins, a Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker born in Bella Bella, B.C., has created a drama around her nation’s fierce determination to stop tanker traffic along the coast of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Her first feature film Kayak to Klemtu premiered last week in Toronto at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival and was the recipient of Air Canada’s Audience Choice Award.

Kayak to Klemtu chronicles the fear of fuel spills among those living on the coast and features Ta’Kaiya Blaney as Ella and Dr. Evan Adams (also Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority) as Dave Ellis.

When Dave Ellis (EAdams), a prominent Kitasoo/Xai’Xais activist, passes away, his 14-year-old niece Ella (Blaney) makes it her mission to take his ashes home to Klemtu and stand in his place at a community gathering against a proposed pipeline that would bring oil tankers through their beloved homeland waters.

Strengthened by her determination and her youthful spirit, Ella embarks on the kayak journey she planned to take with her Uncle Dave through the Inside Passage along the beautiful shores of the Great Bear Rainforest. Along for the journey are her aunt, cousin, and her cranky uncle Don (Lorne Cardinal). It’s a race against the clock, as the four paddle to make the community gathering in time for Ella to give the speech of her life.

It was ironically timed. Days after the principal photography was completed, the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground hear Hopkins hometown of Bella Bella, and spilt over 100,000 litres of diesel and heavy fuel into the clam beds, bringing that fear into sharp reality for the Heiltsuk people.

She would then return to make Impossible to Contain, a 360° documentary short which chronicles the final days of a month-long effort to recover the sunken tug. Hopkins’s own family is shown at a meal of seafood gathered before the spill. “This is where food security comes from the sanctity of the land and the sea,” the filmmaker somberly narrates, her people’s sanctity ruined.

Hopkins started her working in film at the age of 15 as an actor in the iconic film Black Robe (1991). Afterwards she went to Ryerson University to get a BAA in Film in 1997. She then worked as an independent filmmaker directing her first short film Prayer for a Good Day (2004) starring; Christina Bomberry, Taysha Fuller and Delmor Jacobs, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Hopkins is also a part of the Embargo Collective, which is a group of seven film makers from around the world who are indigenous peoples that collaborate and challenge each other to create new unusual films.

Her first 90 minute feature film has been called “a delightful family adventure that speaks to our heart and minds about the importance of protecting our lands for the generations to come.”

You can check out her work on www.imaginenative.org

Just Posted

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read