Passage (2008 film)

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Directed by John Walker
Produced by Andrea Nemtin
John Walker
Kent Martin
Written by John Walker
Andrew Rai Berzins
Starring Rick Roberts
Geraldine Alexander
Narrated by Minoru Fukushima
Cinematography Kent Nason
Edited by Jeff Warren
John Brett
PTV Productions
John Walker Productions
National Film Board of Canada
Release dates
  • April 2008 (2008-04) (Hot Docs)
Running time
108 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

Passage is a 2008 documentary film partly based on the book Fatal Passage about Sir John Franklin's lost expedition through the Northwest Passage. The film explores the fate of the doomed mission, including John Rae's efforts to uncover the truth, and Lady Franklin's campaign to defend her late husband's reputation. The film also features Inuit statesman Tagak Curley, who challenges claims made by Lady Franklin supported by her powerful friend, the story teller[1] and "famous author Charles Dickens", widely reported at the time, that Aboriginal people were responsible for the signs of cannibalism among the remains of the doomed crew.[2]

It premiered at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto, Canada in April 2008.[2]

Passage has two main storylines. The first shows John Walker and crew, making an historical fiction film; it includes script readings, discussions and scenes from the film they are making. The second story line is completely non-fiction. It includes paintings with narratives, cast and crew visiting the places Rae knew (Orkney, the Arctic) and Inuit culture and experts.

The film was written, directed and narrated by John Walker. It stars Rick Roberts as John Rae and Geraldine Alexander as Lady Franklin.


It won two awards at the Atlantic Film Festival: Best Director-John Walker and Best Cinematography-Kent Nason and Nigel Markham. Passage also received the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Production at the Banff World Television Festival. Critical praise for the film included Martin Knelman of the Toronto Star, who called the film "one of the great triumphs in Canadian documentary film history."[3]


  1. Keal, Graham (2008-08-01). "The incredible true story of forgotten Scots explorer John Rae". Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail Ltd. Retrieved 26 March 2012. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Documentary tackles role of Inuit in Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition". CBC News. 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2009-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Four Canadian Directors Confirmed for CFC/NFB Feature Documentary Program" (Press release). CNW Group. 5 November 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links