A heartbreaking look at the effects of limited mental health support in remote First Nations communities by Canadian director Alexander Sworik (previously featured here). Fond du Lac is a Dene First Nations community in northern Saskatchewan. The name quite literally translates to “Bottom of the Lake” and has one of the highest suicide rates among youth in Canada. With “Hou’ley” (Absent), Sworik shares the story of Cynthia, a mother grieving the untimely death of her fifteen year old son, in the hopes of drawing attention to an issue that too often goes unspoken. While it has been nearly three years since her loss, Cynthia still has yet to deal with the trauma her family as experienced.
“The medium of film is a powerful tool to help provoke change. Documentaries specifically provide an unadulterated glimpse into the realities of people who do not always get the chance to be heard or seen. As soon as I found out I could be involved in this project, I jumped at the chance. It’s an important Canadian story to tell, one that is so common among remote First Nations communities but one that does not very often get told. My hope is that through this film, you learn about a grim side of the Canadian experience really hearing Cynthia’s story and feeling the reality of so many families in the community. If enough people hear these stories, then I believe change can happen and these communities can get the support the need and deserve.”