Two Indians Talking is a humorous, uncensored conversation between two First Nations men. Adam (Justin Rain) is a university-educated Native of the Seventh Generation, raised to believe that knowledge is the Indian's best tool for survival. Nathan (Nathaniel Arcand) is a high school dropout whose dreams have been consistently crushed in his endurance of the past 20 years.
The cousins reunite to prepare for community action on their Nation's roadblock. As they wait for support to arrive from a neighbouring band of Cree, the men debate life, culture, identity, women, literature, dreams, politics, education, poverty and hope for the future--if any.
Each man wants fiercely to do the right thing, but struggles with the question, “When you do something for the right reasons, does that make it the right thing to do?”
"She (Sara) is one of the few people that I have run into that are non-aboriginal that really seems to understand the aboriginal community. She did an excellent job of portraying who we are."
– Bill Lighbown, Kootenai Elder, Aboriginal Rights defender
"Self-described as a dramatic comedy, Two Indians Talking offers a thought-provoking dialogue that extends beyond the screen and brings to the forefront the difficulties that First Nations face from outside of their communities and within."
- Wildfrid Lauier University Aboriginal Students' Association
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Awards: Best Feature Film Award & Best Director Award, Cowichan International Aboriginal Festival of Film and Art; Silver SpIFFY for Most Promising Filmmaker, Spokane International Film Festival; Best Actor (Justin Rain), Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival; Rogers People's Choice Award & Most Popular Canadian Film, Vancouver International Film Festival
Festivals: Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, Cowichan International Aboriginal Festival of Film and Art, ReelWorld Film Festival (Toronto), Spokane International Film Festival, Victoria Film Festival, Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco), Vancouver International Film Festival, Red Fork Native American Film Festival (Tulsa), Calgary International Film Festival, Edmonton International Film Festival
“She (Sara) is one of the few people that I have run into that are non-aboriginal that really seems to understand the aboriginal community. She did an excellent job of portraying who we are.” - Bill Lightbown, Kootenai Elder and Aboriginal Rights defender
As the film’s Director, and a white woman who lives in a world where First Nations culture is visible, but with no direct or daily contact to it, this story provides an opportunity to ask all the questions I have about what’s going on around me. I am drawn to the honest and forthright tone of these characters’ conversation, and the rich dialogue following every one of our screenings has moved me.
In our Q&A panels First Nations viewers have responded by saying ‘Thank you for finally telling our story justly’. Non-First Nation viewers have responded by saying ‘Thank you for showing me another way of seeing this whole issue’.
In working with the actors, all of whom are First Nations artists, my approach was to have them tell me what the story means to them, and then reflect their experiences back to them as we worked through each emotional beat of the script on set. I approached the project with an open heart and deep curiosity – and I’m grateful that they decided to trust me.
As I anticipated, there isn’t a singular message that audiences take away from Two Indians Talking. This story acts as a prism for insight and connection, and often reflects back what a viewer is most concerned with at the moment. I have been told people talk about it for days after viewing, and often want to watch it again to mine for more information and insight. One theatre manager shared: “…your film gets the most comments from customers of any film I’ve shown in the last 2 years, all of which are extremely positive.”
My interest in this film is in presenting a revolutionary and expanded perspective on how First Nations culture can be perceived. We all stand to gain by that. I think this story has that power.
Two Indians Talking explores a rather universal theme: a young man travels to seek education and to experience the broader world, and then comes back home to the challenge of integrating his new perspectives with family and traditional ways. In this case the two protagonists are cousins, 10 years apart in age, First Nations men who live on an Aboriginal Reserve in south-western BC.
Even before the film was completed we began to receive invitations to screen in small communities, universities, and at Aboriginal cultural events. The story seems to be hitting a nerve with people who don’t often see themselves reflected truthfully on screen. This project feels blessed – and in fact was blessed by the group of Squamish warriors who gathered to help us film the roadblock and share songs around the campfire – the script was sent to me without solicitation, everyone who has joined the team has done so in a spirit of generosity and collaboration, and response to the story is consistently embracing and full of inquisitiveness.
Shooting this film in 9 days with a volunteer crew and minimal gear put the focus on the story and our wonderful actors. This is appropriate. It is a story about storytellers.