Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parks Canada Rejects Movie after Learning First Nations in Storyline

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Parks Canada Rejects Movie after Learning First Nations in Storyline

Article excerpt

Parks Canada rejects movie after seeing plot

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A movie production team was denied permission to shoot in the Rocky Mountain national parks after Parks Canada staff learned the film's plot involved an indigenous gang leader.

"They expressed a real concern that this was not something they would favour," said Mark Voyce, location manager for a film project that had been scheduled to start shooting later this month.

Voyce is working for Michael Shamberg, a film producer whose past credits include movies such as "Erin Brockovich," "A Fish Called Wanda," "Garden State," "Gattaca" and "Get Shorty."

Shamberg is currently working on a project called "Hard Powder," a crime drama ostensibly set in a Colorado ski town.

Action star Liam Neeson is to play an honest snowplow driver whose son is murdered by a local drug kingpin. He then seeks to dismantle the cartel, but his efforts spark a turf war involving a First Nations gang boss, played by First Nations actor, musician and Order of Canada member Tom Jackson.

Director Hans Petter Moland had hoped to shoot scenes in Banff, the Lake Louise townsite and ski hill, and the Columbia Icefields.

"He was enamoured of the beauty of the Columbia Icefields," Voyce said. "He was very stubborn in insisting that if we were going to come here, that it was to shoot parts of these films in the national park."

Voyce, who has previously organized movie shoots in national parks from Newfoundland's Gros Morne to Pacific Rim on Vancouver Island, said the team began the application process with Parks Canada in December. He said he believed that by last week, only a few details needed to be cleaned up and that permissions would be granted.

Then, late last week, came a phone call.

"They phoned and asked, 'Is the leader of the rival gang in this picture First Nations?' We said yes. That became an obvious last nail in the coffin for us.

"They didn't want to offend anybody. They (said they) would get back to us, but they had grave concerns over subject matter. …

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