HotDocs22: Shane Belcourt directs Tom Wilson’s BEAUTIFUL SCARS




MUSICIAN TOM WILSON’S WORLD From Métis Director Shane Belcourt, The Documentary Will Have Its World Premiere Screening at Hot Docs on May 2

Premiere: May 2, 5:15 PM Bell Lightbox 2
2nd Screening: May 5, 11:15 AM Bell Lightbox 2

Exposing incredible truths about Wilson’s biological family and indigenous heritage, the documentary delves into the singer-songwriter’s (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Junkhouse) lifetime quest to find himself and ultimately uncover his true identity as a Mohawk man.

From two-time CSA-nominated Métis director Shane Belcourt (Red Rover, Kaha:wi: The Cycle of Life), Beautiful Scars is a poignant narrative crafted by an indigenous director. Through intimate, detailed interviews with Wilson, Belcourt unpacks an astounding story about a secretive upbringing, self-destructive music career and the moments that led to the discovery of the shocking, stranger-than-fiction lie Tom Wilson was fed his entire life.  

The film traces back in time to unravel Wilson’s biographical history and eventually follows him to the Kanawahke reserve, where he explores his Mohawk heritage and meets for the first time the birth family that didn’t even know he existed.

“Making this movie was a transformative and revitalizing experience for my mother and me,” says musician and visual artist, Tom Wilson. “It freed whatever old ghosts that were hanging around our attics and stirred up the sludge at the bottom of our lakes. My mother and I were victims of a heartless colonial system but in the end, we won.”  

Beautiful Scars blends a hybrid of visual styles, animation and archival photos set to motion. The soundtrack, pulled from Wilson’s extensive catalogue, drives the pace and story development. 
“Tom is a fearless artist that courageously wears his heart on his sleeve, and for us, he puts it on the screen,” says Belcourt, “and as we spoke about from the beginning, his reclamation journey isn’t about putting on an indigenous costume, this is ultimately a story about taking the costume off and revealing Tehoh’ahake, (Two Roads), his Mohawk name.”

“With Shane at the helm and our incredible access to Tom, who’s a naturally gifted storyteller, we tell a layered, nuanced story,” says Corey Russell, Executive Vice President of Cream Films and producer of the film. “Beautiful Scars is Tom’s painstakingly told journey about the scars that both hurt us and make us who we are.”