Not in the six years I’ve been covering FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival have I been so affected by the Opening Night film.
Based on the incredible festival-selected 2019 short Wildfire, this feature follows two-spirit teenager Link, who runs away from home with his brother to escape their abusive patriarch.
They come across a young Mi’kmaw youth who takes them on a journey to find Link’s birth mother. Along the way, Link discovers his own heritage and becomes more in-tune with his identity.
Writer-director Bretten Hannam – also responsible for the wonderful North Mountain – creates a vivid, engrossing movie that’s part coming-of-age, part two-spirit love story, and most importantly, a film that celebrates Mi’kmaw culture in a respectful, important way.
The performances are all sublime, and the sensitive portrayal of Link from Phillip Lewitski shows a gleaming portrait of a star in the making. Similarly, Joshua Odjick and Jordan Poole are also both fantastic. Michael Greyeyes has a great supporting turn, and Newfoundland actor Joel Thomas Hynes is terrifying in his scenes.
Frankly, Hannam has put together a indie film with heart, purpose and the film is helped tremendously by gorgeous cinematography from Guy Godfree.
Wildhood is can’t-miss entertainment, and a sensitive realization of two-spirit culture you won’t be able to keep out of your head.