Feature Docu-Drama Written and Directed by John Walker. 2008. 90 mins


Filmmaker John Walker uses an innovative approach to tell the story of John Rae, the Scottish doctor who revealed, in 1851, what happened to British explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew of 128 men: that they perished in the Arctic after a failed attempt to discover the Northwest Passage and had descended into madness and cannibalism. Rae was reviled in Victorian society, and Lady Franklin and Charles Dickens did their best to discredit his version of history. As we move closer to the film's climax, we witness a stunning face-to-face meeting between Charles Dickens's great-great grandson and Tagak Curley, an Inuit statesman who challenges the fraudulent history. In one moment, Walker vaults the story from the past into the present and we are witness to history in the making.

"[Passage] is the most revolutionary documentary made in Canada since John Grierson founded the National Film Board nearly 60 years ago."
- Stephen Pederson, The Chronicle Herald

"One of the great triumphs in Canadian documentary film history."
- Martin Knelman, The Toronto Star

"(An) ambitious and fascinating exercise in postmodernist filmmaking."
- The Globe and Mail

Director: John Walker
Producer: Andrea Nemtin
Executive Producer: Bill Nemtin
Editor: Jeff Warren
Writer: John Walker
Cinematographer: Kent Nason
Film Composer: Jonathan Goldsmith

Awards & Festivals:

2008, Vancouver International Film Festival
2008, Atlantic Film Festival
2008, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival

Purchase DVD Info:

Darrell Varga's Book

Published by U of T Press