BONES OF CROWS film is now also a five-part mini-series

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 9:51am


Image Caption

Grace Dove plays Aline Spears in BONES OF CROWS.


“I hope everybody walks away and thinks what do I know about Canadian history. And do I know enough. The answer is probably no.” — Grace Dove, who plays Aline Spears in BONES OF CROWS
By Sam Laskaris
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It’s been more than a year now since BONES OF CROWS had its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.

The film, which unfolds over the course of more than a century, tells the story of the impacts of the residential school system on one family.

BONES OF CROWS had its theatrical release across Canada this past June.

And now viewers can tune in to watch an expanded BONES OF CROWS, a five-part mini-series, at CBC Gem, when weekly episodes are released.

Episodes can be viewed here

APTN also began showing episodes of the mini-series last week. The first English episode was broadcast on Sept. 20. A Cree version was shown on Sept. 25.

Marie Clements, the Métis director/writer of BONES OF CROWS, said the original goal was for the film to be a mini-series.

“There was a master plan,” she said. “And the master plan was to do a five-part mini-series. And we were trying to do bridge financing and the idea came up to also make it a feature so people could be introduced to the story and the cast of characters in the feature and then go on to watch the mini-series in a more expansive way.”

Clements, who lives in British Columbia, believes both formats work well.

“The scope of BONES OF CROWS, it’s 120 years, it’s weaving in and out of time, we felt that this story could handle being both a five-part mini-series and a feature,” she said. “And that those audiences would enjoy them as separate things or as two things that spoke to each other.”

For TV, episodes of the mini-series are an hour long. Since there are no commercials, episodes are between 40 to 50 minutes on CBC Gem.

“It’s an opportunity for people to see more of the story and to kind of breathe in the story,” Clements said of the mini-series episodes. “It will be interesting to see how people receive it, especially, if they’ve seen the feature… That’s part of the experience. We’re looking at this as an event, a cinematic event and on TV. So, we’ll see what happens.”

Grace Dove, who plays the lead character Aline Spears, said it’s impossible to predict how many who saw the film in theatres will also tune in for the mini-series.

“I think there’s theatre people and there’s TV people,” said Dove, who is Secwepemc and a member of the Canim Lake Band in British Columbia.

“I’m hoping that the theatre people who saw BONES can support people to watch other streams.”

Dove, who is based in Vancouver and out of Los Angeles, is hoping viewers of the mini-series take away an important message.

“I really hope that people honestly take a good hard look in the mirror and understand what we have been going through,” she said of the Indigenous experience. “And that this is a story of resistance, resilience, no reconciliation yet, but also just beauty.”

And for others, “I just hope that non-Indigenous folks really start seeing us as real people because we are victimized as less than,” she said. “And I know that because I’ve grown up with so much racism. And so, I hope that people see this film and think how beautiful these people are. Look at how beautiful this family is that survived generations of genocide. And I hope everybody walks away and thinks what do I know about Canadian history. And do I know enough. The answer is probably no.”

Dove said BONES OF CROWS was a challenge to make.

“It was so personal,” she said. “There’s not a role I do where I’m saying ‘this is fun. This is great. What a great day’. This is such important work that we’re doing and every single scene was hard. Was there a scene I enjoyed? Probably not. It was so painful. This is not fun work. It’s a purpose and it’s changing the narrative of Indigenous peoples moving forward. So, every scene is hard. I don’t know if I have much joy. It’s mostly pain right now. But that’s what we’re trying to change.”

Dove, 32, has appeared in numerous movies in her career, including The Revenant and How It Ends.

“We carry so much weight, trauma, intergenerational trauma,” she said. “I’m not allowed to be the love interest of some attractive young man. We have to tell stories of resistance as people of colour. So, I’m hoping that will change and that one day we’ll have room and space to tell stories of Indigenous love stories and comedies. But we’re just not there yet.”

Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.