Hailing from the remote village of Alert Bay B.C., Spencer O’Brien is a world-renowned snowboarder. In 2014, she was expected to win gold at the Sochi Olympics but when she placed 12th, fans were shocked. What few people knew is that Spencer was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, hiding a debilitating pain that impacted her ability to compete.
After the defeat, she retreated to her hometown in the traditional territory of Kwakwaka’wakw to recover. There, with the guidance of her family and close-knit community, she reconnected with her Indigenous culture, helping her regain the strength to reenter the sport and defy all odds.
Precious Leader Woman invites us into Spencer’s world and gives us an intimate look at the determination and grit required to chase big dreams, revealing that our roots are often our biggest strength.
This film was part of VIMFF 2022, VIMFF 2022 Tour and is no longer available for viewing.
Cassie De Colling is an award-winning director whose career spans more than a decade. Her most recent documentary Precious Leader Women won the Banff Mountain FIlm Festival – People’s Choice Award, Whistler Film Festival Best Director and Honorable Mention for Best Mountain Film. The film follows world-class snowboarder Spencer O’Brien as she reconnects with her First Nations heritage.
De Colling was invited to participate in Sheffield Doc Fest, Cannes Development Showcase, New Images and the IDFA Forum’s pitching and financing markets in 2020 for her Virtual Reality collaboration Mugga-mugga.
In 2019, De Colling’s documentary short Allie premiered at Tropfest where it took 3rd Place and won the award for Best Cinematography. The short was then nominated in the International Motor Film Awards and screened as an Official Selection at numerous other festivals.
De Colling’s first short project Uku360 was part of the Sheffield Doc Fest Alternative Realities in 2018. Her directing career began in the mountains of Kashmir in 2014, where she directed her first 45-minute documentary, Beneath the Boarder.
In all of her work, De Colling uses filmmaking to capture honest moments. She unpacks and celebrates the human condition through relatable struggles and perspectives.