Nominated for multiple Canadian Screen Awards, Bretten Hannam's Wildhood has two showings at the Salmar Classic on April  9. (Riley Smith photo)

Two-Spirit Mi’kmaw screenwriter/director Bretten Hannam’s Wildhood coming to the Classic

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Bretten Hannam is a Two-Spirit Mi’kmaw screenwriter and film director.

For his movie Wildhood, our next Shuswap Film Society presentation, he received the Emerging Talent award from both TIFF and the Toronto Film Critic’s Association.

Wildhood is also nominated for six Canadian Screen Awards (April 10), including Best Film.

Drawn heavily from Hannam’s own experience and journey, the movie is about Link, a teen in denial of his heritage and identity and misunderstood and abused by his father. When he finds evidence his Mi’kmaw mother, whom his father told him was dead, may be alive, he bravely leaves his violent home, his half-brother Travis in tow.

They serendipitously meet Pasmay, a Two-Spirit Mi’kmaw pow-wow dancer who offers to help Link find his mother. On the road, Link, Pasmay and Travis get to know one another through secrets shared and harrowing moments escaped. Link is fascinated with Pasmay and finds himself falling in love with the boy. Link begins to acknowledge his true self, their relationship develops with comfort and compassion, and as they get closer to finding Link’s mother, they feel bound by an almost spiritual force.

The two lead actors, Phillip Lewitski (who reminds of a young Brad Pitt) and Joshua Odjick, have incredible chemistry and have been nominated for Canadian Screen Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. The film has a lot to say about sensitive topics — casual racism, substance abuse and intolerance of those who identify as Two-Spirit.

Reviewer Rachel Ho said Wildhood has “an authenticity rarely seen on film.” It shows at the Salmar Classic on Saturday, April 9 at 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Read more: Nova Scotia filmmaker hopes to inspire Indigenous representation with coming-of-age film
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