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'Rite of the Shaman' tells a high school student's journey of becoming a hero to his family

Posted at 1:29 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 15:29:51-04

'Rite of the Shaman' tells high school student Kai's journey of becoming a hero - a shaman - to his family, and especially his mother who is battling cancer.

Through the film, Kai evolves from a sullen, bullied teenager to accepting his role as the healer of his family.

The movie is the project of filmmaker Alicia Oberle Farmer and her son Tyrell Oberle, is the inspiration for the story, as well as the film's star, playing the role of Kai.

At the age of 15 1/2, Tyrel was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. For the next two years he went through treatments to save his life, but those treatments nearly killed him.

From that suffering, came personal growth and insight. "Tyrell truly became a shaman through his battle with cancer," said Farmer. "He had some sacred experiences during his fight, he's into nature, practices healing through kindness, and is incredibly stoic. Those attributes, as much as anything, were how he overcame cancer."

Although inspired by Tyrell's history, the film is not biographical. Farmer took her son's experiences combined with a book 'The Shaman', she had began writing years before but had never completed.

One of Farmer's friends, Janice Spencer-Wise, became a co-writer on the screenplay. It was originally developed as a 60 minute feature. But after winning numerous accolades at both domestic and international film festivals, Farmer and her fellow filmmakers were encouraged to expand the film into a full-length feature film for a theatrical release.

The film is being distributed by Purdie Distribution, a top-10 independent film distributor in the United States, and opens in regional Megaplex and Cinemark theaters on Friday, May 27.

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