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Documentary rises from Okanagan's White Rock Lake wildfire

Documentary created from 2021's White Rock Lake wildfire about a woman saving three horses, then being saved in return by the animals

One poignant story from 2021's White Rock Lake wildfire has been put on film.

Horse Woman - sn̓kłca̓ʔsqáx̌aʔ tkłmílxʷ, a short documentary film directed by local Syilx storyteller and artist Mariel Belanger of Studio Sisplk Gallery Productions, will be screening at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre in the Marie Fleming Room on Tuesday, June 25, at 7 p.m.

Admission is by donation.

The film tells the story of Sienna and the three untouched wild horses who she saved from the historic White Rock Lake Fire in 2021 with the help of another inspirational horsewoman Cambie G. In turn, the horses saved Sienna and helped the healing begin with Sienna’s mother as well as reconnecting her to the land and giving her a newfound purpose.

“I wanted to tell this story because it is important for us as Indigenous women to share and record our experiences," said Belanger. "Our stories have resonance and this one can be felt by all.” 

The film includes footage by Vernon's Francois Arsenault and shows some of the aftermath the fire left behind, a charred landscape that is now in the process of healing.

Victoria Jaenig of Ullus Collective is the movie's assistant director. The film was co-produced by Keli Westgate with cinematography by Darko Sikman and edited by Joseph Pinheiro of Phreeagent Creative.

Horse Woman - sn̓kłca̓ʔsqáx̌aʔ tkłmílxʷ was made possible with a production grant by TELUS STORYHIVE as part of its Indigenous Storyteller Edition, and will be available to view on Telus Optik TV on Demand in November.



Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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