The Toronto, Canada World Premiere of the documentary called, “Highway of Tears” was sold out on Thursday March 6, 2014. It was part of the “Human Rights Watch Film Festival” (Feb 27 - March 6, 2014), in association with the “Toronto International Film Festival/Bell Lightbox.” A panel discussion followed the screening with director Matthew Smiley including special guests, Mavis Erickson, Meghan Rhoad & Carly Pope.
Highway 16 stretches over 500 miles in British Columbia, Canada that has been labeled the, “Highway of Tears.” It has been reported that at least 40 young women have gone missing and/or murdered along that highway. Local residents claim that there is more than 60 women who had disappeared. There are 600 Aboriginal “First Nations” young women who have gone missing along highway 16 among other highways throughout Canada. These missing person cases go back as far as 1969.
The film director of “Highway of Tears” named Matthew Smiley was interviewed on “LA Talk Radio.” He found that along highway 16, it has become “predators by opportunity” when they abduct young women who hitch-hike to the nearest town. The Aboriginal peoples live in remote areas where they are forced to travel long distances. Many of them have no transportation, are unemployed, need medical attention & resort to hitch-hiking.
It is said that you can see more Canadian bears than the average logging truck along highway 16. The reason is that the vast landscape is filled with lakes, rivers & forest trees as far as the eye can see. It has become a breeding ground for killers who can hide dead bodies where it takes months even years to find. Matthew Smiley stated that the missing Aboriginal women has now linked from generation to generation. The abductions & brutal killings rage on in 2014.
The official “Highway of Tears” trailer opens with the camera directly aimed at highway 16. With what we can see it may represent all the highways in Canada connecting to the Aboriginal “First Nations” people. The main focus is on the Aboriginal women as victims & not just with the killers who kidnap or kill their loved ones. They believe they have become victims of law enforcement particularly with the “Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”
The images are quite powerful as we see two women walking along a stretch of highway. Also, the poverty of the “First Nations” people & the dark mysterious nights along the highway. The anger rises in native women who feel they cannot trust law enforcement. The helplessness is there also when a native male talks about putting his life in danger when he is forced to hitch-hike because he has no money.
All the Aboriginal peoples want is justice for their murdered & missing women. - For more information please visit the official “Highway of Tears” website.