Area to be Featured on the Big Screen
Film A Raven’s Song being shot on location in the inner city
The McCauley and Boyle Street neighbourhoods will be the backdrop for a short film currently in development.
A Raven’s Song is about Daniel, the central character, who faces several obstacles in order to save his grandmother. First, he doesn’t have enough money to purchase medicine which will save his grandmother’s (Kokum’s) life. He faces the distrust and fear of a white man who Daniel has been told to visit to collect some money. Next, Daniel encounters a gang and is threatened with robbery and violence. Finally, he makes his way to the pharmacy, only to discover that the generic drug is not in stock. Daniel doesn’t have enough money for the brand-name prescription, but he gets an opportunity to steal the medicine. This is his final obstacle: the moral dilemma he faces as to whether or not he should steal the medicine to save his Kokum.
“The germ for the story was about six years ago, but we have been working on the current script for the short film for about seven months,” explains writer and director Daniel Foreman with Groove Soldier Productions. “A Raven’s Song is a thread from a longer story that I have been working on for several years. The original inspiration for the full story is two-fold: my desire to learn about my Métis heritage and the exploration of the impact of the loss of rites/rituals for boys to become men in our society. However, the story has almost taken on a life of its own as we have learned about the impact of residential schools, heard previously untold stories of Alberta’s history, and researched gangs and gang activity in Edmonton.”
Choosing to film in Boyle Street and McCauley was a natural choice, according to Foreman. “As our story is about a family living in Edmonton’s inner city, it is appropriate that we film in those neighbourhoods. A key location for this story is Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples. This beautiful Catholic church is the spiritual home for our main characters. Father Jim has been a fabulous resource person in helping us understand the people who live in this community,” says Foreman. Other shooting locations include a scene in a back alley and Giovanni Caboto Park, as well as a scene at the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy on 90 Street and Jasper Avenue.
A Raven’s Song is currently in competition for a Telus Optik TV grant. If successful, the short film will be broadcast on Optik TV. The film will also be entered in various film festivals, and it will be shown at the Edmonton Short Film Festival (ESFF) in October.
A lot of local talent has become involved with the production of the film. “We knew we had a good story to share when we first started working on this script, but we had no idea at the time how much this would resonate with people until we started sharing what we were doing,” says Foreman.
“Some people who have joined our project include musicians Bill Bourne, a familiar face in Boyle Street as he teaches guitar to inner city youth, and who is going to be in the film; Bill LeBlanc, aka ‘Rellik,’ who is providing the music score for the street scenes; and Iam Drezus, who has given us permission to use his song ‘Red Winter’ during the closing credits of the film. Renowned artist and writer Aaron Paquette, has given us permission to use some of his artwork in our promotional materials. There are SO many people that are sharing with this project so generously with their time and talents! We are very grateful for all the people that are collaborating with us to bring this story to the big screen.”