April 23

World premiere of BEAUTIFUL SCARS, Musician Tom Wilson’s quest to uncover his true identity as a Mohawk man





From Métis Director Shane Belcourt, The Documentary Will Have Its World Premiere Screening at Hot Docs on May 2


Run time: 87 minutes

Premiere: May 2 5:15 PM Bell Lightbox 2

2nd Public: May 5 11:15 AM Bell Lightbox 2

Available for interviews: Shane Belcourt, Tom Wilson

Cream Films, a division of Cream Productions,today announced the upcoming Hot Docs world premiere of TVO Original documentary Beautiful Scars, based on Canadian musician Tom Wilson’s bestselling memoir of the same name. Exposing incredible truths about Wilson’s biological family and indigenous heritage, the documentary delves into the singer-songwriter’s (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Junkhouse) lifetime quest to find himself and ultimately uncover his true identity as a Mohawk man.

Beautiful Scars will have its first screening at Hot Docs on May 2, at 5:15 pm ET at TIFF Bell Lightbox 2. To watch trailer, click here.

From two-time CSA-nominated Métis director Shane Belcourt (Red Rover, Kaha:wi: The Cycle of Life),Beautiful Scars is a poignant narrative crafted by an indigenous director. Through intimate, detailed interviews with Wilson, Belcourt unpacks an astounding story about a secretive upbringing, self-destructive music career and the moments that led to the discovery of the shocking, stranger-than-fiction lie Tom Wilson was fed his entire life.  

The film traces back in time to unravel Wilson’s biographical history and eventually follows him to the Kanawahke reserve, where he explores his Mohawk heritage and meets for the first time the birth family that didn’t even know he existed.

“Making this movie was a transformative and revitalizing experience for my mother and I,” says musician and visual artist, Tom Wilson. “It freed whatever old ghosts that were hanging around our attics and stirred up the sludge at the bottom of our lakes. My mother and I were victims of a heartless colonial system but in the end we won.” 

Beautiful Scars blends a hybrid of visual styles, animation and archival photos set to motion. The soundtrack, pulled from Wilson’s extensive catalogue, drives the pace and story development.

“Tom is a fearless artist that courageously wears his heart on his sleeve, and for us, he puts it on the screen,” says Belcourt, “and as we spoke about from the beginning, his reclamation journey isn’t about putting on an indigenous costume, this is ultimately a story about taking the costume off and revealing Tehoh’ahake, (Two Roads), his Mohawk name.”

“With Shane at the helm and our incredible access to Tom, who’s a naturally gifted storyteller, we tell a layered, nuanced story,” says Corey Russell, Executive Vice President of Cream Films and producer of the film. “Beautiful Scars is Tom’s painstakingly told journey about the scars that both hurt us and make us who we are.”

Beautiful Scars is a TVO Original documentary. The broadcast partners of this film are TVO and APTN and includes funding from the Hot Docs Slaight Fund.

Cream Films recently produced All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs (Amazon) and the premium doc Nike’s Big Bet, which had its world premiere at Hot Docs last year and just won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Sports Program.


A division of Cream Productions, Cream Films is managed by Corey Russell, an award-winning producer whose credits include The Go-Go’s, the critically acclaimed feature documentary about 80s rock icons that was directed by Alison Ellwood (History of the Eagles), which made its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in 2020 and won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Music Documentary. Most recently, Cream Films producedAll or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs (Amazon) and Nike’s Big Bet. Cream Productions is a premier production company with clients that include streaming giants Netflix and Amazon, as well as leading networks such as CNN, Discovery, History and more. In 2021, the company produced the Netflix series Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan and CNN’s The Story of Late Night.


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We would like to thank Cynthia Amsden, Roundstone Communications for the press release.