Posts Tagged ‘Evan Adams’


Grabbing Audience Favourite at the Sundance Film Festival, Smoke Signals was written, directed and acted by Indigenous creators. Director Chris Eyre captures the experience of living in the late 90s, through Thomas’ (Evan Adams) love of storytelling.

Adam Beach stars as Victor Joseph, a young man who has been estranged from his father for more than a decade. He lives on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation in Idaho – ostensibly the middle of nowhere.

But life for Victor Joseph is anything but empty. A handsome, strapping guy, he is sullen, silent and angry over his dad’s desertion of the family. The father, Arnold (Gary Farmer, Dead Man), was a good-hearted but moody drunk. When his wife, Arlene (Tantoo Cardinal), couldn’t take the booze and the beatings anymore, Arnold climbed into his pickup truck and drove away forever.

Years before Arnold’s departure, a fire swept through the house of Victor’s friend Thomas when an all-night party left most of the reservation – including Arnold – falling-down drunk. Arnold saved young Thomas, but the boy’s parents died, and since then Thomas has become the reservation outcast of sorts, grinning, bespectacled, socially inept, but with a mystical gift for telling wildly improbable stories, some of them true, to anyone who will listen.

For more info click HERE!


A delightfully lighthearted look at the Indigenous psyche with expected moments of tugging sadness. Unpretentious, funny and soulful, Eyre created a standout first feature.

Smoke Signals was a seminal film for the Victoria Film Festival. It opened our mind to the community need and gave us a direction in which to strive. It is fitting that we now celebrate in our 25th year this wonderful film. Join us as we bring you another opportunity to see this mind-opening tale on the big screen. The film screens at 6:30 PM followed by a conversation with some of Smoke Signals’ principals. Richard Crouse of CTV’s Pop Life hosts.

Guests expected:

CHRIS EYRE, the nation’s most celebrated Native American film director, was born in Oregon. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he gained national attention in 1998 with the movie Smoke Signals, winning the Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers Trophy and the Audience Award. The Film also took Best Film honours at the American Indian Film Festival. He is a director and producer, also known for Edge of America (2003) and Skins (2002), and was honoured with the HatcH Native Spirit Award for his achievements in filmmaking. Chris Eyre was appointed as chairman of the film department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design as of January 2012.

EVAN ADAMS is from Tla’amin Nation, near the town of Powell River, B.C. He has starred in the Emmy-winning TV-movie Lost in the Barrens and its nominated sequel Curse of the Viking Grave, and numerous episodics like The Beachcombers and Black Stallion. Evan stars as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in Smoke Signals, written by Sherman Alexie. He won Best Actor awards from the American Indian Film Festival, and from First Americans in the Arts, and a 1999 Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. He continues to work on intermittent, high-profile projects, and is also a medical doctor in Vancouver, Canada.

TANTOO CARDINAL is arguably the most widely recognized Indigenous actress of her generation. Tantoo has appeared in numerous plays, television programs, and films, including Legends of the Fall, Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Loyalties, Luna, Spirit of the Whale, Unnatural & Accidental, Marie-Anne, Sioux City, Silent Tongue, Mothers and Daughters and Smoke Signals. Recent work includes the films Eden, Maina, Angelique’s Isle and Falls Around Her (the latter two both playing at VFF 2019).

For her filmmaking contributions to the First Nations artistic community, Cardinal won the Eagle Spirit Award. She has also been honoured with the Macleans’ magazine Honour Roll as Actress of the Year; the Outstanding Achievement Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television; an International Women in Film Award for her lasting contribution to the arts, and induction to the CBC/Playback Hall of Fame. Cardinal is a Member of the Order of Canada, recognizing her contributions to the growth and development of Indigenous performing arts in Canada.

RICHARD CROUSE is the host of the CTV talk show Pop Life, and the regular lm critic for the 24 hour news source CTV’s News Channel and CP24. He is also the author of nine books on pop culture history including Who Wrote the Book of Love, the best-selling The 100 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, and its sequel. Crouse was the host of Reel to Real, Canada’s longest running television show about movies, from 1998 to 2008 and is a frequent guest on many national Canadian radio and television shows.

VICTORIA FILM FESTIVAL: “In Conversation with ‘Smoke Signals'”

Richard will host In Conversation with Smoke Signals, a panel discussion with Smoke Signals director Chris Eyre and stars Evan Adams and Tantoo Cardinal (who appears in at least two festival entries this year). The trio will discuss the Indigenous filmmaking legacy left by the award-winning 1998 film, which had its Canadian premiere at the Victoria Film Festival.

Click HERE for more information!



A weekly feature from from! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the angry ape movie “Rampage,” the timely and touching drama “Indian Horse” and the boy-and-his-horse drama “Lean on Pete.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard joins CP24 anchor Nathan Downer to have a look at the weekend’s new movies including the giant ape movie “Rampage,” the touching drama “Indian Horse,” the Middle East thriller “Beirut” starring Jon Hamm and Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan  to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the giant ape movie “Rampage,” the touching drama “Indian Horse,” the Middle East thriller “Beirut” starring Jon Hamm and Joaquin Phoenix in “You Were Never Really Here.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!

INDIAN HORSE: 3 ½ STARS. “no denying the important and timely nature of the story.”

Based on author and journalist Richard Wagamese’s book of the same name “Indian Horse” is a personal story that brings issues of cultural assimilation and displacement policies to the fore.

Structured like a film noir the story begins at the end with Saul Indian Horse (Ajuawak Kapashesit) in rehab, recounting the details of his life. “You can’t understand where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” he says.

Flashback to 1959. Saul is orphaned and left in the care of his grandmother before being scooped up and sent to the St James Residential School. Ripped away from his family and culture he says, “The world I had known was replaced by a black cloud.” Indigenous children had their mouths washed out with soap for speaking Ojibwe, names changed to “good biblical names“ and were disciplined with paddles and fists. When that didn’t work, they were sent to “contrition,” a dank basement prison. “Our goal here is to help you succeed in this world,” says Father Quinney (Michael Murphy).

A school in only the loosest sense of the word, piousness was valued above everything else. “The only test was our ability to endure,” Saul says. The youngster survives in part because of his love of hockey. Teaching himself to skate, he uses frozen horse manure as make-do pucks. Despite his young age he has an innate ability, honed by watching hockey on TV, and can outplay the older boys. With the encouragement of kindly priest Father Gaston (“Game of Thrones’” Michiel Huisman) he flourishes and is soon recruited to an outside league where his ability attract the attention of Toronto Maple Leafs recruiter Jack Lanahan (Martin Donovan).

In the big city he is subjected to abject racism and feels even more removed from his cultural roots. “There is no better life for me,” he says to Lanahan. “There never will be.”

“Indian Horse’s” portrayal of the cruelties of the residential school system is uncompromising and horrific. It’s not overly graphic but the human effects of the humiliating and dangerous treatment the students were subjected to are undeniable and unforgettable. Director Stephen Campanelli—Clint Eastwood’s steadicam operator from “The Bridges of Madison County” to the recent “The 15:17 to Paris”—sets the stage for Saul’s later-in-life trauma with matter-of-fact storytelling and characters that embody the results of cultural alienation.

Overall the film could use a little more nuance but there is no denying the important and timely nature of the story.