Project Description


 This short film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the “Not Short on Talent” Telefilm Program, was a collaboration between director Shane Belcourt and playwright Yvette Nolan. This visual poetic short film was realized with the key collaboration of Cinematographer Daniel Grant and Production Designer David Hannan. Shot on Six Nations, this short film delving into the multi-generational effects of Residential School, and was based on the real-life experiences of Yvette Nolan and her mother, Helen Thundercloud. The short film has played at many festivals including imagineNATIVE, Whistler, and Skabmagovat, along with being distributed by the Winnipeg Film Group.



  • Nominated for a 2014 Best Cinematography Award for best narrative short at the Canadian Cinematography Awards for Daniel Grant’s work


In 2008 the Government of Canada formally apologized for the treatment of Aboriginal people in the Indian Residential School system. In moving towards healing and reconciliation the government established the “Common Experience Payment”, a program that pays former students for their suffering. “A Common Experience” is a poetic look at the devastation this sad ongoing chapter has on multiple generations. It is the story of one applicant, Helen Thundercloud, as told through the eyes of her daughter, Yvette Nolan.


Production Details

Directed by Shane Belcourt
Written by Shane Belcourt & Yvette Nolan
Based on the play by Yvette Nolan, “Dear Mr. Buchwald”
Produced by Duane Murray & Shane Belcourt
Director of Photography Daniel Grant
Production Design by David Hannan
Edit, Sound, and Score by Jordan O’Connor
Starring Yvette Nolan & Lilia GreyeyesRun Time: 10:20 mins
Format: HD Video (RED EPIC 5K)
Dates: shot on Six Nations Fall 2012, post completed in Toronto Spring 2013
Distributed by Winnipeg Film Group