Based on a true story, a new film called "The Grizzlies" tells the story of a group of Eskimo students in a small Canadian town called Kugluktuk, otherwise known as "the edge of the world." The community has the highest suicide rate in all of North America. Russ Sheppard, a teacher with a one-year contract at the local school, decides to start a lacrosse team to try and turn the youth away from alcohol and drugs.
The Kugluktuk students eventually grow to trust Sheppard and actually have some fun with the sport, but they still face overwhelming challenges.
"He has to hunt," one family member says of one the students recruited to play lacrosse. "His family is starving. We don't need to defend our way of life to a Southerner."
Another mother tells her daughter that family comes first, not some "white man's game."
But the community learns to trade darkness for hope.
Together as “The Grizzlies", the players learn to lead each other, gain the support of a deeply divided town, and look to compete in the National Lacrosse Championships. In the process, these youth become the teachers, of their coach and each other, proving to themselves and now the world, that it really isn’t ‘win or lose’, but being together in the game. The Grizzlies is more than the usual triumph through sports movie - it is a true story about a group of Inuit students who changed their teacher and eventually their whole community for the better. Driven by remarkable performances by the young, Nunavut -based cast, and seeded with unassailable authenticity because of it’s dramatic location, The Grizzlies proves to be one of the most unexpectedly affirming films of the year. (The Grizzlies)
Watch the trailer below.
The film was directed by Miranda de Pencier, executive produced by Academy Award nominee Frank Marshall and Jake Steinfield, and stars Ben Schnetzer, Booboo Stewart, Tantoo Cardinal, Emerald MacDonald, and Will Sasso.
"The Grizzlies," from Elevation Pictures, is open in select theaters on March 20. You can learn more about the film here.