rustic oracle • movie trailer
Set in the late 90s, Rustic Oracle is a dramatic feature about Ivy, an 8-year-old girl trying to understand what happened to her big sister who has vanished from their small Mohawk community. With minimal clues, Ivy and her mother Susan embark on an unwelcome journey to find Heather which ultimately brings the pair closer together despite challenging circumstances. Behind the story of desperation, told through the eyes of a child, lies one of hope, growth, awakening and love.
Canadian Theatrical Release
IN THEATRES AUGUST 21st, 2020
as SUSAN • Ivy and Heather's mother
Well-known B.C. actress Carmen Moore is a member of Wet’suwet’en First Nation. She has appeared in numerous television series in the U.S. and Canada, including Outlander, Blackstone, Artic Air, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Chesapeake Shores, Arrow, iZombie, Godiva’s, and the feature film Unnatural & Accidental. She was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award in 2017 and is the winner of three Leo Awards. She won Best Supporting Actress at the American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco) for her portrayal of Susan in Rustic Oracle.
“Spreading awareness of the MMIW epidemic in such an impactful and provocative way is so important and so necessary," says Carmen Moore. "As heavy as it was on our hearts at times, I couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of this collaboration, working with the beautiful souls that dreamed it, created it, and brought us all together. My hope is that the film will help raise awareness and give rise to action.”
Lake Kahentawaks Delisle
as young IVY • The missing teen's sister
Born in 2009 in the community of Kanhawake near Montreal, QC, Lake Delisle is a talented young actress that has had roles in the feature length movie Blood Quantum by filmmaker Jeff Barnaby (2018) and Rea, a short film by Devery Jacobs released in 2017. Rustic Oracle will be Delisle’s first leading role in a feature film.
as IRIS • Mother of Susan, grandmother to Heather and Ivy
Margo Kane is a multitalented Cree-Saulteaux artist from Edmonton, Alberta, known for her skills as an actress, singer, dancer, storyteller, writer and more. She wrote and played a one-woman show called Moonlodge, which toured for more than 10 years at the national and international level. On screen, her most recent roles include those in Raven Tales: The Movie (2014), Unnatural & Accidental (2006), Dreamkeeper (TV-2003) and On the Corner (2003). Margo Kane is also a strong advocate for Indigenous cultural rights; as an example, she is the creator of the Vancouver Forum: Telling Our Own Story: Appropriation and Indigenous Writers/Artists.
Mckenzie Kahnekaroroks Deer
as HEATHER • Susan's daughter and Ivy's older sister
Rustic Oracle marks Mckenzie Kahnekaroroks Deer's first appearance on the screen. The young actress was born in 2001, in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake near Montreal, Q.C.
“It means a lot to me to be a part of this story because it’s such an important message that has to be known," says Deer. "It’s something that people need to hear because it’s a real thing that is happening to our people. Being part of the film made me realize what these families have gone through...it breaks my heart. Rustic Oracle is a way for people everywhere to understand what it’s been like for our community and that it needs to change.”
as OFFICER CARON
Well-known in the province of Quebec, Kevin Parent is a bilingual actor and multi-platinum singer-songwriter who has garnered numerous ADISQ Awards and Juno-nominations for his French and English albums. Parent began his acting career in 2011. He played a principal role in the internationally acclaimed feature film Café de Flore by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Vanessa Paradis, Évelyne Brochu and Hélène Florent. Since then, he has had roles in the TV mini-series The Disappearance, the American thriller, The Calling by Jason Stone, La maison du pêcheur by Alain Chartrand and the popular Quebec television series Toute la vérité.
sonia bonspille boileau
the director and writer
Sonia Bonspille Boileau is a bilingual Mohawk filmmaker. Over the last decade, she has developed and produced television projects in English and French, ranging from children’s programming, to socially driven documentaries, to dramatic feature films. She is the recipient of the 2017 Women In the Director’s Chair National WIDC Feature Film Award, designed to encourage more feature films directed by women, and the 2016 APTN Award of Distinction.
Bonspille Boileau’s first dramatic feature film Le dep (2015), about a young Innu woman held at gunpoint in her father’s convenience store and the trauma that results, premiered at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. The film made the official selection list of several festivals around the world and won numerous awards. Rustic Oracle is her second dramatic feature film.
Bonspille Boileau has written and directed several award-winning documentaries. Her feature documentary The Oka Legacy, about the impact of the 1990 Oka Crisis, earned her a Golden Sheaf Award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival (Saskatchewan). She also won the Prix de la Diversité at the 2011 Gala des Prix Gémeaux for her documentary Last Call Indian. Her credits also include directing four episodes of the APTN documentary series Skindigenous.
As an Indigenous filmmaker, Bonspille Boileau’s goal has always been to tell stories that appeal to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, connecting us all.
“In Rustic Oracle, the relationship between the characters is just as important as the main storyline of Heather’s disappearance. In fact, the characters, highly imperfect but sculpted in realism, are the driving force of the film,” says Bonspille Boileau.
"The film shares a story experienced by countless Indigenous families who have faced the trauma caused by the disappearance of a loved one," she continues. "Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has become such a big social issue, we’ve lost touch with the actual people that have lived it. The film aims to ensure that the fear and helplessness that are felt by so many families in this country are not drowned by the politics, the data and the buzzwords. It is easy to forget that each 'stolen sister' is exactly that – someone’s sister, daughter, niece, cousin, or best friend. Rustic Oracle will resonate with families that have endured the trauma of losing a loved one. With these families in mind, the film features a predominantly Indigenous female cast.”
In 1996, like Heather in Rustic Oracle, I was 16 years old and living in Kanehsatake. I flirted with the idea of leaving home and like Heather, hung around the wrong crowd in my search to fit in. This story could’ve been about my family and I. My younger brother could’ve gone through a journey similar to Ivy’s. While Rustic Oracle may not be based on a true story, what happens to Heather is similar to so many stories in our communities. Luckily I did not become a statistic. Today we are constantly made aware of the startling numbers associated with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and in many ways; I hope that my film sheds light on this social injustice that continues to persist today. I am very much aware that I am part of the lucky ones.
I felt it important to set this film in 1996 – not only because of my own connection to that time – but because it is before social media. Back then the general awareness and attitude about missing and murdered Indigenous women was nowhere what it is today. As I recall, the general Canadian public was either unaware or unsympathetic. Many families were left living the struggle on their own and without any electronic social tools, getting the word out there was practically impossible. This is without a doubt why so many vulnerable women fell victim.
During the 1990s the RCMP recorded over sixty missing Indigenous women (even though our own organizations believe that the number is much higher). Twenty-five of them were never found. Most of these cases were neglected until the late 2000s, when missing and murdered indigenous women became a topic outside of our circles. In the past years, we have heard a lot more about this issue. The acronym in itself – MMIW – with its trending hashtag have definitely helped create awareness. But it has also created a desensitizing effect, turning identities into numbers and simply stacking them into statistics. My goal with this film is to get away from the statistics and size the issue back down to one individual story.
I want to make sure that the fear and helplessness that are felt by so many families in this country are not drowned by the politics; the data and the buzzwords. It is easy to forget that each “stolen sister” was exactly that: someone’s sister. Or someone’s daughter, someone’s niece, cousin, best friend... As a mother/stepmom of three, I can barely breathe when I think of my eldest stepdaughter going missing and how it would totally destroy her siblings. The thought of our two younger children being helpless passengers in such a horrific situation is what became the driving force in writing this film. Children witness and feel everything without being able to intellectually and emotionally grasp what is going on. They are often left without any decision- making power. They deal with the pain, the fear, the frustration, yet they do not get many answers or fully understand how such things occur, yet a child always seems to be forced to cope in the face of tragedy. Regardless of what they are experiencing, children always tend to find the beauty in everything. That is what makes this film about more than just pain and loss. Rustic Oracle is a story of a missing teen as it is lived by her eight-year-old sister and underneath the story of desperation lies one of hope, growth, awakening and love.
The film will obviously resonate with the families that have endured the similar trauma of losing a loved one and it is with those families in mind that I approach this delicate process. Authenticity, humanity and honor are the words that continuously come to mind when I think of my responsibility as a filmmaker and this film. Ultimately, I want to create a compelling story of a struggling family that has a lot of love and a complicated history, surely something that resonates with us all. As an Indigenous filmmaker, my duty has always been to tell stories that appeal to both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population and “Rustic Oracle” will further connect us all. My purpose is to bring to life real characters, profound, complex and loveable so that everyone – all walks of life and from any cultural background – can relate to the situation. The relationship between the characters is just as important as the main storyline of Heather’s disappearance. In fact, the characters, highly imperfect but sculpted in realism, are the driving force of the film.
For the second time in my career, I hope to be able to produce a film with the talented writer and director Sonia Bonspille Boileau. Upon completing our first film, LE DEP, I realized just how much talent and vision she possessed as a filmmaker. With a limited budget and few resources, we were able to make a film that was truly authentic and that reflected life in a small First Nations community in Canada. The film was released in Quebec theatres, had a great festival run and went on to have respectable VOD, DVD and television sales. For one of the first times, a truly Indigenous production had achieved success.
The last few years has seen a rise in Canadian features incorporating Indigenous elements. These films come from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives, a fact that tells me there is real mainstream interest in Canada’s First Peoples today. But with a young Indigenous workforce and an established film community diving into Indigenous stories, the films that are made often miss the mark, either because of poor execution or, as in many instances, because the films do not speak from the heart. We at Nish Media have the resources, experience and ability to create truly authentic Indigenous films.
Given the urgency of the situation, it is no surprise that the question of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women has been treated a few times already on the screen. But with RUSTIC ORACLE, we are raising this question from a 100% Indigenous perspective. This film was developed well before the moment Sonia and I began to discuss it. It began, for each of us, while reading reports of women in our communities who had vanished or been murdered. Both of us noticed how these women’s faces resembled those of women we had known our entire lives.
So this is a subject that has been on our minds for some time, a topic we have long wanted to tackle. But we felt we needed to hone our craft—Sonia as a writer and director and myself as a producer—in order to pull it off properly. We decided that we would start working on this film when we were ready. Now the time has come. We’re ready.
Rustic Oracle aims to surpass what we accomplished with LE DEP. It is a script written in an unconventional style, a singular take on the road movie genre. Over the length of the film, we follow two characters as they search for a missing loved one. Each deals with the situation in her own way. I am confident that only Sonia can bring this story to life with the mastery it requires and from the female Indigenous perspective it deserves. As the sole and Indigenous producer, my role is to fight for this film from a creative, financial and distribution viewpoint. This film is simply too important not to succeed.
With that said, I am committed to providing Sonia with the resources she needs to make this a memorable film. Together, we have come to the decision to offer one of the leading roles to Carmen Moore. Carmen is arguably the most talented Indigenous female actress in the country; her resume and awards speak for themselves. From the first read, Carmen fell in love with the script and felt a sense of responsibility for the role of Susan as both a mother and an Indigenous woman. The illustrious actress has been waiting for this type of role her whole life, and she has expressed her gratitude for this chance to spread awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
For an Indigenous producer, nothing gives a sense of accomplishment like seeing the credits roll on a major festival premiere while knowing that the film was written, directed and produced by Indigenous people. This is something I experienced once with LE DEP, and I intend to experience it once more with Rustic Oracle.
Written and Directed by
Sonia Bonspille Boileau
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Third Assistant Director
Lake Kahentawaks Delisle
McKenzie Kahnekaroroks Deer
Devan (Ivy’s friend)
Mark Bonspille Jr
Ivy, as an adult
Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Wahiakeron George Gilbert
Anjo B. Arson
Officer in Ottawa
Elementary School Teacher
Donna Kenerahtenha:wi Jacobs
High School Teacher
Man comforting Susan
Man talking to Karen and Susan
Woman comforting Susan
Man who points in bar
Man who tells Suzan to leave
Woman at corner store
Woman in Gatineau park
Harvey Satewas Gabriel
Kanehsatake Community Liaison
Kanehsatake Location and Technical Support
Kanehsatake Band Office Financial Officer
Director of Photography
Raphaël Demers, Post-Moderne
Daily Boom Operator
Best Boy Electric
Daily Best Boys
Best Boy Grips
Mylène “Mylou” Bilodeau
Daily Set Dressers
Costume Design Consultant
Katerina “Kita” Mendolia
Key Hair & Makeup artist
Hair & Makeup artists
Lead Set Production Assistant
Set Runners and Drivers
Arrêt de Bus
Coffee provided by
Moccasin Jo Coffee Roasters
Water provided by
Picture car coordinator
Picture car drivers
Additionnal Picture cars
Camera car Operators
Annaël Beauchemin, Post-Moderne
Stéphanie Vaillancourt, Post-Moderne
Marie-Pier Dupuis, Post-Moderne
Marie-Kathryne Viens, Post-Moderne
Post Production Supervisors
Post Production Coordinator
Annie Dionne, Post-Moderne
Sound Effects Editors
Dialogue and ADR Editor
ADR Sound Engineer
Louis-Antoine Lassonde, Mels Studios
Sandra Portman, Sharpe Sound Studios
Assistant Sound Editors
Ilyaa Ghafouri, Mels Studios
Stéphanie Mercure, Mels Studios
Nicolas Gagnon, Mels Studios
Louis Duranleau, Mels Studios
Foley Sound Recorder
Daniel Bisson, Mels Studios
Sound Services Coordinator
Celia Perrier, Mels Studios
Original Music Composed, Arranged, Performed and Produced by
Studio La Voute
Lead Casting Directors
Nadia Rona and Vera Miller - Elite Casting
Johanne Titley - Casting Quarters
Background Casting Associate
Background Casting Assistants
Marie Routhier, Annexe Communications
Lyne Dutremble, Annexe Communications
Social Media Manager
Assistant to Producer
Me Robert Y Cousineau
Joe Sisto B.A., M.A., B.C.L., LL.B
Lussier & Khouzam Inc
RISK MANAGEMENT AND INSURANCE BFL CANADA RISK AND INSURANCE SERVICES INC.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLPLyne Lacroix
Interim Financing Provided by
National Bank of Canada - TV and Motion Picture Group
Based in western Québec, Nish Media is a prize-winning Indigenous owned production house with over fifteen years experience. Our goal is to support Indigenous multimedia professionals in creating unique and captivating content for any platform. Whether it be television, cinema or new media, Nish’s goal is to promote Indigenous cultures both domestically and internationally.