Project Description


The Breath was hired on to work with Historica Canada to make two Heritage Minutes. Director Shane Belcourt and Producer Michelle St. John worked closely with screenwriter Joseph Campbell to bring these challenging issues into one-minute education spots.



This “synopsis” is from a Vice review

A glimpse into the horrors enacted on Indigenous children at residential schools as recently as 1996, the emotional minute is narrated by Pearl Achneepineskum. She is a survivor of the system that deliberately sought to “kill the Indian in the child.” Through violence, sexual abuse, and whitewashing, children were taught to cauterize their Indigenous parts. But while Pearl lived through the horrific ordeal, her brother Chanie Wenjack did not. The new Heritage Minute opens on Wenjack’s attempt to escape his residential school in 1966 and ends with his tragic death on a railway track, not far from where he began. The video is raw, heartbreaking and not easy to watch. It will bring you to tears. And you should watch it over and over again. Because as hokey as those old videos were, this new Heritage Minute is not only devastatingly recent, it’s devastatingly real and more relevant to our present than any previous video, as iconic as they may have become.




Pearl Achneepineskum — Story Consultant and Narrator
Jared John Bomberry – Chanie
Meko Misquadis – Residential School Boy (“Haircut”)
Carter Simon – Residential School Boy
Colton Clause – Residential School Boy
Glen Gaston – Minister
Billy Parrott – Teacher
Alanis Obomsawin – Voice of “Pearl” (French Version)
Joseph Boyden – Closing Narration
Rachelle White Wind – Kids Voices
Craig Lauzon – Kids Voices
Luke O’Reagan – Kids Voices
Director — Shane Belcourt
Writer — Joseph Boyden
Producers — Michelle St. John and Jeremy Edwardes
Executive Producers — Jim Compton and Todd Ivey
Director of Photography — James Klopko
Editor & Composer — Jordan O’Connor 
DMT & Assistant Editor — John Reed Hryszkiewicz
Production Designer — David Hannan
Property Master — Dan Wood
Set Decorator — Carolee Custus
Costume Designer — Erika Iserhoff
Costume Assistant — Chrystal King
Key Make Up & Hair — Rachelle White Wind
Assistant Make Up & Hair — Samantha Doxtator
1st Assistant Director — Adam Mahaffey
3rd Assistant Director — Roxann Whitebean
Locations Manager & Transportation Coordinator — Kristi Lane Sinclair
1st Assistant Camera — Mark Moher
2nd Assistant Camera — Michael Yablonski
Sound Recordist/Drone Operator — Tony Wallace
Key Gaffer — Ryan Hernandez
Key Gaffer — Bryan Brooks
Best Boy — Ryan Seifert
Best Boy — Kay Grospe
Key Grip — Miles Ruiz Barnes
Best Boy — Taylor Palmer
Generator Operator — Rich Pryce
Script Supervisor — Jessica Lea Fleming
Stills Photographer — Keesic Douglas and Behind-the-scenes-videographer
Stunt Coordinator — Flint Eagle
Safety Assistant — Tes Andemariam
Medic — Andrea Rees
Locations & Transport Assistant — Aimee Rochard
Production Assistant — Semiah Smith
Craft Service — Frankie Pye
Craft Service — Suzanne Belcourt
Craft Service — Mark Raddatz
Children’s Casting — Michelle Farmer
Casting Director — Duane Murray
Voice Over Recording — Dave Angell & Dining Room Studios
Post Audio and Colour Mix — Urban Post