VIFF – Hyena Road

27 09 2015

Went to a showing of Hyena Road at VIFF last night. Horrified to have to sit through many excruciating minutes of bagpipe playing before things got going. Delighted to learn that Writer/Director/Actor Paul Gross was there to give a bit of a spiel and do Q&A. Also Vancouver-born actor Rossif Sutherland, son of Donald and half-brother of Kiefer. This seemed fair compensation for the tortured cat.

Paul Gross explained how he’d been part of a group of entertainers/celebrities who’d gone to Afghanistan to boost the morale of Canadian troops out there. He’d spent some time “outside the wire” and determined that there was a Canadian story to be told. He went back later and shot lots of footage of “interesting stuff” – stock footage of heavy artillery, planes, etc. Later he’d woven the story and went to Jordan a couple of years later to shoot film in the desert for 30 days to create this well-crafted tale. “The Ghost” and “The Cleaner” were real people he spoke with, and the events of the film were drawn from conversations with Canadian troops.

I thoroughly recommend the film. It’s well balanced and devoid of any “gung-ho” sentiment. Au contraire, the narrative revolves around how nothing is quite black and white in such situations. There’s even a gratuitous plug for Timmie Ho’s in the early frames.

Go see it when it’s on general release… you won’t be disappointed!