Parks Canada has said no to a movie that asked to film in Banff and Jasper national parks.
Mark Voyce, location manager for film producer Michael Shamberg, said his team began working with Parks Canada in December on permits for the crime drama.
Hard Powder features Liam Neeson and Indigenous actor Tom Jackson. Director Hans Petter Moland had hoped to shoot scenes in Banff, the Lake Louise townsite and ski hill, and the Columbia Icefields.
Voyce said when parks officials found out that one of the characters in the film, a gang leader, would be Indigenous, his request to shoot the film in the parks was rejected.
Jackson plays the leader of the Indigenous gang. Neeson plays an honest snowplough driver whose son is murdered by a local drug kingpin. He then seeks to dismantle the cartel, but his efforts spark a turf war involving a First Nations gang boss.
In an email, Parks Canada confirmed it has concerns over the script.
“The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation and nation-to-nation relationships with indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership,” wrote spokeswoman Meaghan Bradley.
“In addition to some administrative details and outstanding documentation, Parks Canada’s commitment to reconciliation and respect for indigenous peoples was an important factor in the agency’s final decision on this matter. Parks Canada maintains the right to refuse applications that are not in line with Parks Canada’s mandate or operational priorities.”
Jackson sent a letter of support to the park, stating he had “taken a strong stance to ensure that the humility and integrity of First Nation roles do not cross the line of disrespect to my culture. I don’t feel my culture is insulted even slightly by the script.”