The Xeni Gwet’in Youth Wagon Trip timed their entrance to the lakecity and the Williams Lake Stampede rodeo perfectly Friday evening, arriving just in time for the second performance of the 92nd annual Williams Lake Stampede. Angie Mindus photo

WATCH: In the Valley of Wild Horses released worldwide this month

Trevor Mack returns home this summer to film his first feature-length film

After months of preparation, Tsilhqot’in filmmaker Trevor Mack’s groundbreaking film, In the Valley of the Wild Horses, has been released worldwide as of May 1.

The 24 minutes long film chronicles the traditional Xeni Gwet’in youth wagon trip from Nemiah Valley to the Williams Lake Stampede. Premiering at the Vancouver International Film Festival in the fall of last year, many people in the lakecity got a chance to view it early at a series of screenings shown in and around the Cariboo.

Now though, the film Mack made with co-director Asia Youngman is available for anyone to see and buy, which is a cathartic feeling according to Mack.

In the Valley of the Wild Horses, I think, is an inspirational, defiant spectacle of a film that showcases the Xeni Gwet’in youth wagon trip’s tenth year anniversary,” Mack said.

The trip, Mack said, is an example of a land-based healing project first initiated by Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua that had created a new path towards health and wellness in his community. When he was offered the opportunity to come along and document the trip, Mack said he leapt at the chance.

Over the course of eight days, Mack and Youngman travelled with the wagon train on their journey, often rushing ahead to set up shots they only had one chance to get. For some of the incredible drone footage Youngman took, Mack said, the mosquitos were so bad he to constantly smack them off her as she operated the device.

Read More: New Xeni Gwet’in wagon trip documentary will premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival

“It just shows these badass Indigenous Youth being healthy, being out on the land, taking in old cultural traditions and leading the way, I think, in how to live a healthy life as Indigenous people in the Chilcotin,” Mack said. “That aura of potential that was in the air was an incredible feeling and I hope the documentary shows that.”

For Mack, the most impactful moment of the film comes at the end as the wagon train rides in the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds. The excitement on the faces of the youth, the roar of the crowd and the whole feeling makes him, to this day, stand up whenever he sees the sequence, filled with an indescribable emotion.

Despite it premiering at VIFF and already being shown around the world, for Mack, the screening of the film he has been most proud of are the ones he has done in school and communities across Tsilhqot’in Nation. The entire project, for him, was connecting with the youth and the more who can watch it and learn its message, the better.

“I think the climate crisis we’re seeing now, all over the world, is a product of that sustained disruption from the land that occurred with Indigenous peoples. I think the more non-Indigenous people that are able to take part in a land-based healing program (should) the most important thing is our connection to the land,” Mack said. “It’s not just an Indigenous issue, it’s a worldwide planet-wide issue.”

Read More: Trevor Mack eyes range of exciting future film projects

Currently, In the Valley of the Wild Horses is available, in full, on Youtube and on the Telus Optik TV on demand network. Physical copies will be available for sale, though Mack said the details are still being decided and will be announced on the documentary’s Facebook page within the next few months.

Mack is moving from Vancouver back to the Cariboo Chilcotin this summer to film his first feature-length film Portraits From a Fire an introspective drama about a First Nations boy who discovers himself through viewing his parent’s old wedding tape.



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Back to school: District 27 workforce to provide critical support during COVID-19 pandemic

Superintendent Chris van der Mark said he hopes the district can be a source of calm for communities

Triage tent being set up at 100 Mile District General Hospital

This will keep patient with respiratory symptoms away from patients with other health concerns

100 Mile RCMP: Man found passed out with air soft handgun by first responders

The suspect is in the custody of the 100 Mile RCMP at this time

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSARA manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Frontline workers receiving COVID-19 isolation exemptions prompt concerns

Provincial Health Authority staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel

COVID-19: Here are the measures being taken at B.C. care homes

Only essential visits allowed to people in long-term care facilities across the province

Most Read