I was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses by two second-generation Witnesses named Daniel Lacosse and Tamara Sears. My mother is Welsh and English, while my father is Scottish, French and Ojibwe, from the Eabametoong First Nation. They were married for eight years and divorced when I turned four.

 

My filmmaking is directly shaped by my tumultuous upbringing as a subject of colonial and Christian influence, and as a town-hopping child of divorce.

 

While my parents had some similarities in taste, their divorce created two different islands of influence that pulled me in antipodal directions. With regards to my influence as a filmmaker, my mother raised my sister and I within the confines of a strict media landscape under the watchful eye of Jehovah––which often meant watching Golden Age Hollywood films with her late into the night on her black and white TV or renting tapes of the Colgate Comedy Hour with Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin from the local library. She was a Hitchcock fan and was in love with Cary Grant. She loves Star Wars but only the Original Trilogy, and reluctantly refused to see The Lord of The Rings because it was supposed to be more violent and magical than The Hobbit.

My dad, on the other hand, quickly stopped being a Witness, living the freer life of a “Worldly” man. Unlike my mother’s more “refined” tastes, Dad was a huge Jackie Chan fan. He let me watch “forbidden” films like Alien on a portable DVD player in his work van and let me sit on his lap and drive to the Blockbuster where I rented 2001 Maniacs by accident instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Most weekends I spent with him would involve him falling asleep to Michael Mann’s Heat or Road Warrior every night.

Yet my mother and father’s differences weren’t the only reasons for why I left the Witnesses. It was always apparent to me that there was an obvious schism between Jehovah’s way and the way of the World; a political and emotional schism that my cinematic praxis seeks to express.

As I grew into adulthood, I had to make the extremely difficult decision to no longer identify as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. This posed a number of existential questions for me: who was I, now that my life indebted eternally was severed? If I were to leave, would I also be severed from my family who remain in the Faith? These were but a few of those questions that sat at that horizon for me.

Since passing the threshold into the World,

it is my goal to make films that interrogate my feelings and experiences, to map out my intersectional identity as an adult, an ex-cult member, a mixed heritage Indigenous person, and as an artist. I have made it my mission as a filmmaker to help myself and others become more attuned to their innermost feelings and to help people with the difficult task of navigating the fog of personhood.

 

I may not be able to carry people into Paradise but I can certainly try to help myself and others make sense of where they are, who they are, and how they are.

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