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The First And Only Canadian Opera Documentary Film THE LAKE Premieres At DOXA Film Festival

Unique Canadian Opera Documentary has BC Premiere in theatre screenings May 6 and 12, 2022.

The First And Only Canadian Opera Documentary Film THE LAKE Premieres At DOXA Film Festival

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ, a unique opera documentary about the groundbreaking cross-cultural collaboration between Vancouver's Astrolabe Musik Theatre, Turning Point Ensemble and Westbank First Nation, has its BC premiere on May 6, 2022, at 7:45 p.m. at the VIFF Centre VanCity Theatre, with a second screening May 12 at 7:45 p.m. at SFU's Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema, as part of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival. The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ is also available for viewing online.

Produced by Astrolabe Musik Theatre's Heather Pawsey with producer / director John Bolton of Opus 59 Films, The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ is an inspiring music documentary about an extraordinary friendship between two singers and teachers - Heather Pawsey of Vancouver's Astrolabe Musik Theatre, and Delphine Derickson of Westbank First Nation - and the groundbreaking cultural collaboration in which they decolonised a historic Canadian opera by incorporating syilx / Okanagan perspectives.

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 water and wind, The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ celebrates the magic that's possible when people start to really listen to one another.

From 2012-2014, Vancouver's Astrolabe Musik Theatre and Turning Point Ensemble collaborated with artists, elders, knowledge-keepers, and community members from Westbank First Nation in the co-creation of The Lake / n'-ha-a-itk, which decolonised BC composer Barbara Pentland & Canadian poet Dorothy Livesay's long-lost 1952 opera The Lake with syilx / Okanagan culture and perspective and a new, commissioned work by Japanese-Canadian (BC resident) composer Leslie Uyeda.

The world premiere and three performances were held in August 2014 at Quails' Gate Estate Winery, the original "Sunnyside Ranch" of Susan and John Allison (the first European settlers in what is now West Kelowna): the actual site of the opera's true-life 1873 events and the traditional, ancestral lands of the syilx / Okanagan people.

Filmed on location at Westbank First Nation, Quails' Gate Estate Winery and Vancouver, The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ is the first and only Canadian opera to have been shot specifically as a film.

A true cross-cultural collaboration

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ features Westbank First Nation elder, artist, knowledge-keeper, and teacher Delphine Derickson; Astrolabe Musik Theatre's Founding Artistic Director, soprano Heather Pawsey; Corinne Derickson, Jordan Coble and Krystal Withakay of Westbank First Nation; Glenn Deneault of Shuswap / secwépemc Nation; BC composer Leslie Uyeda; Turning Point Ensemble's Owen Underhill and Jeremy Berkman; and Vancouver-based opera singers Angus Bell, Kwangmin Brian Lee and Barbara Towell.

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ is a Telus Original, produced with the support of the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, Creative BC & Amplify BC, the Central Okanagan Foundation, the Deux Mille Foundation, the Hamber Foundation, the SOCAN Foundation and the Ambache Charitable Trust, and with the sponsorship of Westbank First Nation, Turning Point Ensemble, Quails' Gate Estate Winery and the Canadian Music Centre in BC.

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ documentary had its world premiere in Montréal on March 24, 2022, as part of Le FiFa International Festival of Films on Art.

The Lake / nx̌aʔx̌aʔitkʷ, a unique opera documentary

May 6, 2022 at 7:45 p.m. at the VIFF Centre VanCity Theatre

May 12, 2022 at 7:45 p.m. at SFU's Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema

Also available online.

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