Set during the 2010 Olympics, this striking indie narrative—documentary hybrid explores the reality of five marginalized residents living in a depressed Vancouver neighborhood: a sex worker, a heroin addict, a transgender street celebrity, a disabled hockey fan, and an Indigenous man experiencing extraterrestrial visions.
Vancouver, Canada, is a town perhaps best known for disguising itself as other cities, appearing as the setting for countless films and TV series. So when it stood in the spotlight for two weeks to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, local director Wayne Wapeemukwa decided to expose parts of the city that will never make it onto a tourist brochure. Luk'Luk'I (pronounced "luck, lucky") is a hallucinatory narrative—documentary hybrid, focusing on five distinct personalities living in the city's Downtown Eastside, many of whom portray fictionalized versions of themselves. On the closing day of the Olympics, we are introduced to Angel, a mother and part-time sex worker; Ken, a disabled actor, who tries to see the Gold Medal hockey finals; "Ms. Rollergirl" (Angela Dawson), a transgender street celebrity who tangles with both rowdy hockey fans and violent police officers; Eric, a heroin addict and struggling landscaper; and Mark (Joe Dion Buffalo), a First Nations man who is plagued by disturbing visions of pursuing UFOs. In a setting that celebrates international competition, Luk'Luk'I is a wholly original kaleidoscopic essay on the legacies of colonialism in the Great White North: economic inequality, racism, addiction, and misogyny that run counter to the squeaky—clean image of Canada as a progressive social democracy.
27-year-old director Wayne Wapeemukwa is passionate about confronting social injustice and societal indifference in his films. A Vancouver native of Metis heritage, Wapeemukwa studied philosophy and psychoanalysis at the New School for Social Research. His previous works include the short films Foreclosure (2013), Balmoral Hotel (2014), and Srorrim (2016), along with the 2014 short version of Luk'Luk'I . He is currently directing a film about a cult, with the working title Afterlife.
Sponsored by Canadian Studies Center at UW, Consulate General of Canada, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, The Seattle Times
- Original Language Title: Luk'Luk'I
- Director: Wayne Wapeemukwa
- Principal Cast: Angel Gates, Eric Buurman, Joe Dion Buffalo, Ken Harrower, Angela Dawson
- Premiere Status: US
- Country: Canada
- Year: 2017
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Producer: Matt Drake, Spencer Hahn, Wayne Wapeemukwa
- Screenplay: Wayne Wapeemukwa
- Cinematographers: Jeremy Cox
- Editors: Wayne Wapeemukwa
- Music: Daniel J.K. Ross
- Website: Official Film Website
- Awards: Toronto International Film Festival 2017 (Best Canadian First Feature)
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP