Tl’etinqox filmmaker Trevor Mack’s Portraits From a Fire plays the Salmar Classic on Saturday, Jan. 29. (Contributed)

Tl’etinqox filmmaker Trevor Mack’s Portraits From a Fire plays the Salmar Classic on Saturday, Jan. 29. (Contributed)

Shuswap Film Society: Young filmmaker turns camera on family tragedy in Portraits From a Fire

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

After being assaulted and mugged in Vancouver, Tl’etinqox native and filmmaker Trevor Mack was bedridden, with his jaw wired shut, for three months. It gave him a lot of time to realize he wasn’t dealing healthily with his emotional baggage.

That sparked the idea to make a film about an Indigenous youth learning of the trauma his parents experienced and that he in turn inherited.

Mack’s movie, Portraits From a Fire, features 16-year-old Tyler, who lost his mother in a tragedy no one will discuss, and whose father is emotionally absent for reasons he doesn’t understand. An amateur movie maker, Tyler normally makes sci-fi “flicks,” but a mysterious young man named Aaron encourages him to do more personal films. This leads him to create an audiovisual diary about his mother and her disappearance, including old footage he finds. At Aaron’s urging, Tyler shows his movie to the community and secrets from his family’s past and Aaron’s place in his history are revealed.

Portraits From a Fire, a simple and heartfelt tale about healing wounds by opening them again, was shot completely on Trevor Mack’s home reserve and surrounding area near Williams Lake. Shooting locally, with local characters, was important to Mack and gives the film a “real” and endearing feel.

Portraits From a Fire shows at 5 p.m. only on Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Salmar Classic. We’re also showing The Truffle Hunters, a fascinating documentary about a secret culture practiced by a handful of elder Italians with their expertly-trained dogs, on Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 7:30.

Read more: Shuswap Film Society: Indigenous filmmaker Danis Goulet delivers future dystopia with Night Raiders

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