Home » Russ Sheppard attending Invermere Film Festival

Posted: January 26, 2020

Russ Sheppard attending Invermere Film Festival

The first Invermere Film Festival, running Feb. 7 to 9, is excited to share special guests for each of its three evening films. They will be joining for a discussion and Q&A at the end of the films.

Meet Saturday’s (Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.) special guest, Cranbrook resident Russ Sheppard (pictured right), a central figure in The Grizzlies.

The grizzlies is an inspiring and powerful true story based on a group of Inuit students in the small Arctic town of Kugluktuk. Suffering from widespread drug use, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and one of the highest teen suicide rates in the world, this northern community is periled by the legacy of colonialism.

The students are naturally skeptical when Russ Sheppard, yet another ignorant and unprepared white rookie teacher, arrives from the south on a one-year teaching contract. With much to learn, but deeply shaken by the death of one of his students, Russ introduces his class to the sport of lacrosse in an effort to help lift the dangerous fog of trauma existing in his students.

The Grizzlies earns its impact through a carefully established sense of place, thoughtfully fleshed-out characters and a refusal to back away from the cold truths at its core. Yes, it’s about a teacher whose lacrosse team gave struggling kids a sense of pride and identity, but that teacher was an overwhelmed, under-equipped kid himself – and desperate to break his charges out of a cycle of despair and give them a reason to live. It’s a movie that tells its story with authenticity and heart, and that makes all the difference. It scores.

Russ Sheppard will be at the screening and join in for a discussion and Q&A at the end of the film.

Festival Passes  (admission to all seven films) are $25; single screening tickets $10. Note: There are only 125 Festival Passes and over 100 have be sold already!

Lead image: Russ Sheppard (played by actor Ben Schnetzer).

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