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Highway of Tears (2015)

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"Highway of Tears" is about the missing or murdered women along a 724 kilometer stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. None of the 18 cold-cases had been solved since 1969, until ... See full summary »


Matthew Smiley (as Matt Smiley)


Matthew Smiley
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Two college graduates take a road trip on the deadliest highway in North America. The script is based on the terrifying real story of Highway 16 in British Columbia, nicknamed the Highway of Tears.

Director: Jonathan Heatt


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nathan Fillion ... Narrated by (voice)
Terry Teegee Terry Teegee ... Himself - Interviewee
Mavis Erickson Mavis Erickson ... Herself - Interviewee
Mary Teegee Mary Teegee ... Herself - Interviewee
Crystal Clear Crystal Clear ... Herself - Interviewee
David Loewen David Loewen ... Himself - Interviewee
Lesley Smith Lesley Smith ... Herself - Interviewee (as CST. Lesley Smith)
Doug Leslie Doug Leslie ... Himself - Interviewee
Brenda Wilson Brenda Wilson ... Herself - Interviewee
Matilda Wilson Matilda Wilson ... Herself - Interviewee
Rena Zatorski Rena Zatorski ... Herself - Interviewee
Barbara Ward-Burkitt Barbara Ward-Burkitt ... Herself - Interviewee
Sarah Boyd-Noel Sarah Boyd-Noel ... Herself - Interviewee
Angelique Levac Angelique Levac ... Herself - Interviewee
Patricia Prince Patricia Prince ... Herself - Interviewee


"Highway of Tears" is about the missing or murdered women along a 724 kilometer stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. None of the 18 cold-cases had been solved since 1969, until project E-Pana (a special division of the RCMP) managed to link DNA to Portland drifter, Bobby Jack Fowler with the 1974 murder of 16 year-old hitchhiker, Collen MacMillen. Why haven't the killers been found? Is this the work of one or several serial killers? In Canada, more than 500 cases of Aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered since the 1960s. Half the cases have never been solved. Viewers will discover what the effects of generational poverty, residential schools, systemic violence, and high unemployment rates have done to First Nation reserves and how they tie in with the missing and murdered women in the Highway of Tears cases. Aboriginal women are considered abject victims of violence. Now find out what First Nation leaders are doing to try and swing the pendulum in the other ... Written by Highway of Tears FB page

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English | French

Release Date:

6 March 2015 (Canada) See more »

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Necessary attention to an overlooked national tragedy
3 July 2016 | by gizmomogwaiSee all my reviews

Made in the last year Canada still had a government refusing to set up an inquiry into the epidemic of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across the country, the documentary Highway of Tears (2015) attempts to shed light on an epicentre of the phenomenon that is still often overlooked. The Highway of Tears is a section of Highway 16, which runs through northern British Columbia, specifically between Prince George and Prince Rupert. Over 40 women have either been murdered or simply vanished there since 1969, yet the cases escaped national and police attention for years. Two serial killers responsible for some of the deaths, American Bobby Jack Fowler and Canadian Cody Legebokoff, have since been identified, but several cases remain unsolved and it seems likely other killers were active in the area.

The documentary Highway of Tears is an attempt to raise the profile of the case/cases, and explore root causes. These include systemic racism, as many of victims have been Aboriginal women, providing a reason why the RCMP and many Canadians assigned no importance to them. The contributing factor of poverty in Aboriginal communities and lack of public transportation is given as a reason why so many men and women hitchhiked and continue to hitchhike there.

Highway of Tears isn't a perfect approach to the issue. It tries to include a lot, sometimes without adequately explaining how some of the issues relate to the Highway of Tears, including residential schools (itself a national shame) and the Robert Pickton case. For all the mention of the individual tragedy, as well, there isn't too much examination of who more of the individual victims were. Despite its title, Highway of Tears is not a tear-jerker, although it's a valid argument that that may not be what they were going for. The doc is, nevertheless, a possible starting point for anyone willing to learn more about the epidemic of tragedy between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

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