Q21:25Kelvin Redvers: Cold Road, the future of Indigenous film, and getting kicked off the Cannes red carpet

Northwest Territories director Kelvin Redvers started making movies at the age of 15. The aspiring filmmaker would create shorts with his friends and send them off to film festivals across the world in hopes of making it. In 2022, Redvers attended the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s Les Amandiers. To honour his Indigenous heritage, Redvers wore traditional moccasins on the red carpet, but was stopped by security and was told he wasn’t allowed to enter until he changed into formal shoes. 

“That isn’t unlike what it can feel like sometimes to be in the industry,” he tells Q’s Tom Power. Although he was often the only Indigenous filmmaker at film events, Redvers always knew he deserved to be there. “Why can’t a Dene Indigenous kid from Northwest Territories, be a Spielberg or be a Scorsese or that kind of thing?” says Redvers. 

His latest horror film, Cold Road centers on Tracy an Indigenous woman who is driving across a frozen highway to visit her sick mother. Initially, Redvers was inspired to make this film based on a scary experience he had flipping his car on the highway. But the film took on a deeper meaning — showcasing the dangers that come with being Indigenous. Not only is the movie meant to be a thriller but also, “tells a really powerful poignant story of an Indigenous woman,” says Redvers. 

During a screening in Vancouver, BC., Cold Road lead Roseanne Supernault, of Métis and Cree ancestry, was approached by an Indigenous elder. “They hugged in front of everybody while the credits were rolling,” says Redvers. “Apparently, this elder whispered to Roseanne while this was happening and said ‘you did a beautiful job, representing all of us as Indigenous people’,” says Redvers. 

“It makes me cry,” says Redvers on the positive reaction from the Indigenous community. It was important to Redvers that Cold Road highlights “what it can be like to be an Indigenous person out there in the world,” because it is a perspective that is overlooked in the film industry.

 “It’s just so hard to get these types of projects off the ground,” says Redvers. “But I think that the reaction to it is an indicator that there is a desire for these types of movies.”

The full interview with Kelvin Redvers is available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Interview with Kelvin Redvers produced by Lise Hosein


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