Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Residential School Dance Subject of Documentary Film

Submitted by Barbara Hager

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s critically acclaimed dance, ”Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation” will be the focus of a feature documentary by Barbara Hager, an award-winning Métis director based in Victoria, BC. Hager’s company, Aarrow Productions, will co-produce the film with Winnipeg-based Wookey Films. The documentary, to be shot in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie in 2015, features writer Joseph Boyden, singer Tanya Tagaq, musician Steve Wood, composer Christos Hatzis, choreographer Mark Godden and dancers Liang Xing, Alanna McAdie, Sophia Lee, Dimitri Dovgoselets and Yosuke Mino. The documentary, Truth Dance and Reconciliation, follows the journey of a group of non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal writers, choreographers, composers, musicians and designers who are brought together to create a ballet about one of the darkest chapters of Canadian history – church-run Indian residential schools.

sixhundred6.jpgTina Keeper, a Cree filmmaker, actor and board member of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, contacted Hager in the fall of 2013 to tell her about the company’s plan to create a ballet about residential school history. “Like most people, my first reaction to the idea was one of disbelief. I thought, how can a European artistic form tell the story of Aboriginal peoples’ suffering and abuse?” Hager said. “My second reaction was to approach the RWB about making a documentary on this unique and compelling story.” Hager, along with award winning Métis Winnipeg-based filmmakers Janelle Wookey and Jérémie Wookey, have had access to the creative team from their first meeting in 2013 to the world premiere of the ballet in Winnipeg in October 2014.

The documentary will also include interviews with residential school survivors who as children were banned from speaking their language and practicing their culture, including traditional dances. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s "Going Home Star" is a history, dance and culture project that received support from Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The coming-together of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and the unique fusion of European and First Nation art forms to tell the story of Canada's residential schools, marks an important addition to Canada’s artistic legacy. Aarrow Productions is currently running an Indiegogo campaign at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/truth-dance-and-reconciliation/x/1857089 Website: http://www.tdrdocumentary.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/TruthDanceDoc Facebook: Truth Dance and Reconciliation