L E   F I F A
L E   F I F A
The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ

World Premiere

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ

John Bolton

Canada | 2021 | 1 h 50 min
English |
Subtitles: English
Geoblocked film in Quebec

The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk is an inspiring music documentary about a groundbreaking cross-cultural collaboration between Astrolabe Musik Theatre, Turning Point Ensemble and Westbank First Nation that integrated Barbara Pentland & Dorothy Livesays long-lost opera The Lake with contemporary syilx / Okanagan culture and perspective. At the heart of the film lies an extraordinary friendship between two singers & teachers: Vancouver’s Heather Pawsey and Westbank First Nation’s Delphine Derickson. The film brings to life all of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous storytelling, music making and dancing from the original production, alongside a bracingly honest oral history of the successes and failures of the project. It’s a film about a journey that is, in itself, a continuation of that journey. Filled with laughter and tears, and alive to the rhythms of storytelling, water and wind, The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk celebrates the magic that’s possible when people start to really listen to one another.

This film is the most exciting collaboration, historically, educationally, and culturally which will take people to a magical place they have never been before. People will feel, see and hear the true meaning of reality. Through the powerful blending of cultures through the magic of traditional song, opera and music, and microcosm of our early oral history, together we will build a connection and shift participants’ resonance, and change lives. How the process will resonate with the co-creation of this transformation together to make a difference to individuals, historically and the world at large. It will bring a richer awareness and appreciation of the local history, based on education and entertainment. It will open many doors of collaboration and appreciation of local cultures, also including the importance of Okanagan history blended with European history. This venture in education has never been done before, its effects will span outward like a ripple on magic of water. This powerful celebration of cultures will be remembered for a long time to come. It is a blending of cultures which has been overdue. We must stand together as one, on our great land, and all our connections in the universe.” — Delphine Derickson (Associate Producer / Subject).

I give thanks to my incredible colleague, artist, knowledge-keeper, elder, friend and teacher Delphine Derickson, who has changed my life, and my art, and the way that I think about music. I am so grateful to have been invited to walk with her as a little brother” (who, as I understand it from Delphine, are Europeans or, like me, people with European ancestry) on this incredible journey we’ve been taking together musically, artistically, creatively since 2012. A decade later, I am joyful that we’re still walking together, and happily acknowledge the responsibility I have to carry the things that have been taught to me into all the work that I do as an artist.” — Heather Pawsey (Producer / Subject)

It has been one of the great honours of my life to have been invited by Delphine Derickson (of Westbank First Nation) and Heather Pawsey (of Astrolabe Musik Theatre) to produce and direct this film about the 2014 production of The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk. They spent years building the relationships and trust necessary to co-create this cross-cultural collaboration. I already had a relationship with Heather, but I didn’t have a relationship with Delphine, so I took several trips to Westbank First Nation to build trust with not only Delphine, but also Corinne Derickson and Jordan Coble (both of whom also appear in the film). One of the unique aspects of the film is that enough time has passed since the 2014 production that everyone has perspective on what went right and what went wrong. In the same way, enough time has passed since I started making this film that I have perspective as well. I’ll admit that there have been times where I’ve wondered if I — as a non-Indigenous filmmaker — was the right person for this job, but ultimately the film was made with Delphine’s, Corinne’s and Jordan’s blessing. I believe I could have done more, but I also believe that the principals of respect, responsibility, consent and reciprocity have been upheld throughout the process, and will continue to be upheld. I hope that it the film speaks for itself. — John Bolton (Producer / Director)

in the presence of the director John Bolton, as well as the subjects Heather Pawsey and Delphine Derickson on March 24, 2022 at 7:00 pm at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
Director John Bolton
Director of Photography Naim Sutherland
Production John Bolton, Maggie MacPherson, Heather Pawsey, Thea Loo
Associate Producer Delphine Derickson, Corinne Derickson, Jordon Coble
Editing Brendan Woollard
Sound Chris McLaren

In Partnership with

Festival international Présence autochtone


• Centre Canadien d’Architecture
Thursday, march 24, 2022, 07:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.


John Bolton

John Bolton

John Bolton is an award-winning filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada, and the founder & chief creative officer of Opus 59 Films. As knowledgeable about literature and music as he is about film and television, he brings a very particular erudition and sensibility to Opus 59 Films’ portfolio of projects. John is best known for Aim For The Roses (for Blue Ice Docs and Monoduo Films, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council), a musical docudrama about Canadian musician Mark Haney and Canadian daredevil Ken Carter. Exclaim! Magazine called it enthralling and thought provoking”; the Globe and Mail called it audacious and outrageous”; POV Magazine called it bizarre, ambitious and ridiculously entertaining” and the wildest, craziest, smartest doc in years”. John is currently developing King Arthur’s Night, an adaptation of, and documentary about, the radically inclusive musical by Niall McNeil, Marcus Youssef, James Long & Veda Hille. He is also currently producing Teresa Alfeld’s music documentary Doug And The Slugs And Me” (for CBC / Documentary Channel), about the legendary 1980s Canadian party band. He is also currently executive producing Nisha Platzer’s documentary Back Home (for Telefilm Canada).

Biographical notes provided by the film production team
Selected films:
That Higher Level (2018)
Michael J. Fox (2017)
Aim For The Roses (2016)
Debris (2015)
The Making Of Fallujah: A New Chamber Opera (2012)

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