The Grizzlies

Directed by: 
2018

The film tells the origin story of a high school lacrosse team in Kugluktuk, the most-western community of the Nunavut territory in the arctic region of Northern Canada. Next to hockey, lacrosse is the national sport in Canada. But this is not a film about sports. It starts with the arrival of the white teacher Russ Sheppard who doesn’t know a thing about the town or Inuit culture he was sent to. Russ is accordingly shocked about the conditions he encounters here. Food is exorbitantly expensive. The teenagers he is supposed to teach rarely come to class, never turn in their home assignments when due and spend most of their time apparently smoking pot or consuming huge amounts of alcohol. But what is even worse: a rampant suicide epidemic raging among teenagers. Small wonder one is inclined to think when considering this rough and god-forsaken place. After Russ becomes aware of the suicide wave, he decides to start a lacrosse team to help the Inuit teenagers to escape this miserable trap of alcohol, drugs and domestic violence. (Festival information, IFF Mannheim-Heidelberg 2019)