A film by Giovanni Attili and Leonie Sandercock

Here is a unique story about native-non-native relationships in small towns of northern British Columbia, that is simultaneously a universal story about misunderstanding, violence, ambition, righteousness, pain, and survival. As with the best of stories, it holds up a mirror to our own cross-cultural experiences, challenges us, makes us uncomfortable, forces us to slow down and listen – really listen – at the speed of a mind searching for a far-away memory. “Is this really Canada?” many of us will ask. And from there we begin finding our way forward.
Jessica Hallenbeck

Leonie and Vanni have done it again and this time it is a film for Canadians to begin to understand the legacy of colonial policies affecting reserves and rural communities. I believe this is a film for all of Canada….the story of the destructive history, the turmoil of the recent days and the amazing potential for healing and reworking this country. Well done!
Norma-Jean McLaren 42nd Street Consulting

“Finding Our Way” is a story of 2 northern British Columbia Indian communities, the Burns Lake Band and the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, and how they overcame overwhelming odds and obstacles to achieve a sense of stability, yet lingering pressures of mingled cultures trying to survive in trying times.
Leonie and Giovanni came up a half dozen times over 2 years and documented the decades of diminishing land base that squeezed the tiny Burns Lake Band into a corner with high fences. The film tells a very confidential story about the battle over recognition and equality. It’s all told by first hand witnesses who speak with long standing beliefs.
They also spent many days with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, learning about the crushing story of flood and fire, and listening to the survivors cry of the past and smile for the future. Leonie and Giovanni witnessed the biggest flood of all in 2007, and saw the water rise and the cemeteries filled up…once again.
Leonie cares about people. People trust Leonie. Therefore, when the survivors of Indian Residential schools looked into Giovanni’s lens, they finally found someone who would listen. That’s all the survivors want, that’s all the Burns Lake Band want, and that’s all the Cheslatta have wanted for 55 years…someone who listens. That is the magic behind this film. It is very honest.
I was honored that Leonie and Giovanni used my still photographs, especially in part 3, but I’m mostly honoured to have the Cheslatta Nation Archives material play such a prominent role in the film which wove the collection of maps, documents and photographs into a flowing, fluid glimpse of history, of smiles and frowns, x’s and crosses, north and south, up and down. That is very satisfying.
What is the saddest part for me… hearing Stephen Peters voice.

Mike Robertson

I attended the Screening at UBC last week. I commend all of those involved in this project. Excellent job and a very good resource for all levels education. I will be using it in my classes this fall.
Bruce Allan

Congratulations Giovanni and Leonie! Finding Our Way is an extraordinarily powerful story, told with great honesty and sensitivity. It packs a very strong punch. Through Giovanni’s creative editing and use of images the voices and faces convey so much more than the words alone. The trust you so clearly have built with the community is remarkable for two people who were so recently complete outsiders. Canadians need to come to grips with this history in ways that they have shamefully avoided. Your movie can only help in raising the level of understanding and hopefully stimulate greater efforts to right the horrendous wrongs and ensure the likes of them are never repeated.
The story makes one sad and angry, as it should. But perhaps its greatest achievement is the inspiration of seeing and hearing what can be achieved by a community that perseveres against daunting odds to restore itself and goes on to a better life despite being so cruelly abused.
Thank you for inviting Plu and I to participate in last night’s memorable premiere event. It added so much to be able to see and hear from the members of the community in the flesh. Loved the drumming and singing.
You make us so proud.

Plu and Tony Dorcey

Thank you for inviting me to your very special screening tonight. I thought the film was AMAZING! All the images, music, people, and feelings the film managed to evoke (from shame to reverence and optimism) will be staying with me for a long long time.
Marisol Peterson

That was a wonderful premiere and evening.
You are into a whole new medium. Films are very powerful, multi-dimensional experiences that go far beyond our customary world of the written text and the spoken word. I’ve had Cheryl Bear’s remarkable music and words in my head for two days. What a woman and what a family.
How do we treat the film as an exercise in social science? I think it’s great strength, beyond technique and story line, is that it is indeed about promise and what happens next. It is presented from a very contemporary and specific point of view that make me uneasy in several respects […] but that reflect a perspective that may have the potential to move us in a creative direction.
If we treat the film as an academic product, how do we put it to critical test and discussion?

Paul Evans