“North Mountain” by Aboriginal filmmaker to premiere at 35th Atlantic Film Festival

NS Indigenous filmmaker Bretten Hannam with his production team for film, North Mountain./Photo by Stephen Brake

A film written and directed by a Nova Scotia Aboriginal filmmaker will debut at the 35th Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax on Wednesday evening.

The film, called North Mountain, is the first feature film for Bretten Hannam, 31, who is part Mi’kmaq from Annapolis Royal, N.S.

“So, this is the big one, the first big one,” Hannam says. “I feel fortunate to be included in this film festival.”

The film is set on a mountain in the valley region of Nova Scotia. It is about a young Metis hunter named Wolf living on the mountain who finds an older Mi’kmaq man named Crane with bag of money and a gun. Both men fall in love before outsiders arrive at North Mountain looking for Crane.

The film stars Justin Rain, who has appeared in the science fiction television show Defiance, and Mi’kmaq actor Glen Gould, who has acted in films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Charlie Zone.

“It’s a bit of a mashup,” Hannam says. “It’s more of a thriller. There’s a bunch of action in it spread out over different places,”he adds.

“It’s kind of violent sometimes and it’s kind of quiet at different other times.”

Production crew work on final edits of Hannam's film, North Mountain./Photo by Stephen Brake
Production crew work on final edits of Hannam’s film, North Mountain./Photo by Stephen Brake

Hannam, who studied filmmaking at NSCAD University, wrote the script over a four year period and the film was shot in January near Kejimkujik National Park.

Hannam, who was able to secure $250,000 in funding through Telefilm Canada’s micro budget program, teamed up with producer Kevin Kincaid to shoot the film.

Hannam’s film primarily focuses on the relationship that develops between the two Aboriginal men, Wolf and Crane.

“I tend to like to take very conventional things and then, tear them apart and reconfigure them in different ways just to challenge perceptions and different notions,” he explains.

Hannam says he was excited to have two experienced actors like Glen Gould and Justin Rain starring in his debut film.

“Glen is very super talented, very professional,” Hannam says. “It is very interesting to watch him. He is always so on his game.”

“It was just really nice to work with professional actors of that calibre.”

The film was given the award for Best Atlantic Original Score (Lukas Pearse and Mike Ritchie) by 35th Atlantic Film Festival on September 20.

North Mountain, which runs 78 minutes, premieres on Wednesday, September 23 at 9:15 p.m. at the Park Lane Cinemas in Halifax.

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About Maureen Googoo 270 Articles
Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne'katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news more than 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, a journalism degree from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.