In 2014, at age 53, Tom Wilson, a singer-songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario, with a stack of gold records and stories aplenty, found out quite accidentally that he had been adopted. Soon afterward he learned that his biological parents were Mohawk from the Kahnawake community, just outside of Montreal.
For legions of fans familiar with Wilson’s story thus far—a precocious local teenage rocker grows up to found ’90s major-label alt-rock unit Junkhouse, battles various demons, gets sober, starts to paint, evolves into a troubadour of note in the acclaimed trio Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and the edgier collaborative Lee Harvey Osmond—this revelation marked a substantial shift in his personal narrative and in the subject matter of his creative work.
Wilson’s 2017 memoir “Beautiful Scars: Steeltown Secrets, Mohawk Skywalkers and the Road Home” (Doubleday Canada) became a best-seller in Canada. A new documentary, currently on Hot Docs’ Audience Top 20 list, continues his journey.
Written and directed by Shane Belcourt, “Beautiful Scars” is produced by Corey Russell, executive vice president of Cream Films, and is a TVO Original made in partnership with APTN, with funding from the Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund, which annually offers financial support to three to five documentaries highlighting Canadian music’s role in the world or featuring international stories told from a Canadian perspective.