As the only First Nations student in an all-white 1940s school, eight-year old
Wato is keenly aware of the hostility towards her. She deeply misses the
loving environment of the reserve she once called home, and her isolation is
sharpened by her father’s serious illness. When Wato’s teacher reads from a
history book describing First Nations peoples as ignorant and cruel, it
aggravates her classmates’ prejudice. Shy and vulnerable Wato becomes the
target of their bullying and abuse. Alone in her suffering, she finds solace
and strength in the protective world of her magical dreams.
Inspired by personal experiences of writer and director Alanis Obomsawin, When All the Leaves are Gone combines autobiography, fiction and fable to create a deeply moving story about the power of dreams.