THERE ARE NO FAKES Film Review – A Web of Fraud

Norval Morrisseau Image Courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.

A wide panorama view of an endless snowfield brings a fresh, cold, and pristine air. We could almost feel the powdery and grainy snow under the snow boots. The snow-covered evergreens next to a frozen lake can surely make Thunder Bay, Ontario seem like a sedentary winter wonderland.

THERE ARE NO FAKES by Jamie Kastner and Cave 7 Productions reminds us about slushy and muddy streets and harsh, chilling wind and uncovers brutality and horror buried under the snow. 

Kevin Hearn with Spirit Energy of Mother Earth Image courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.
Gerald McMaster with Spirit Energy of Mother Earth Image Courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.

Kevin Hearn, a Canadian musician, purchased a painting from Maslak-Mcleod Gallery in Yorkville in 2005. He was excited. He had just bought Spirit Energy of Mother Earth by Norval Morrisseau, an iconic indigenous artist. The green-hue creatures wrapping and filling the muted green canvas. Hearn had read articles warning about fake paintings but decided to trust the gallery as it represented Norval’s sons as well. Art Gallery of Ontario wanted to host an exhibition on Norval Morrisseau, and Hearn gladly added the painting to the exhibition. Spirit Energy of Mother Earth was one of the biggest paintings there. 

“Little did I know – the spiderweb was around me,” said Hearn.

One day, he got a call from the Art Gallery of Ontario. They had to take the painting down. Gerald McMaster, head curator of Canadian Art for the Ontario College of Art and Design, believed that it was fake. Amid the confusion, Hearn wanted to know where the painting came from. He finally received a copy of provenance, which states the history of owners of a painting. However, the document that was supposed to bring lights on the confusion only led to another dead end. Either the supposed owners did not exist or they denied that they ever purchased or owned the painting. Like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, he faced continuous new doors only leading to another.

“At the bottom line, it’s always up to the they believe?” commented Christian Morrisseau, a son of Norval Morrisseau.   

Randy Potter Image Courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.
Esther English Image Courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.

THERE ARE NO FAKES Tells the Story of Artworks Trapped Between Two Factions

Hearn and his legal team quickly find two factions in the dispute of authenticity. Each with captivating and unique characters in the art world—who are mostly White—argue for the legacy of Morrisseau. THERE ARE NO FAKES does not stop at a courtroom and takes a further step in its quest to unearth the origin of the paintings. In doing so, the film unravels a harsher reality buried under the art fraud allegations that will likely draw you, as this reviewer was, into unexpected suspense. 

Jamie Kastner Image Courtesy of Cave 7 Productions, Inc.

THERE ARE NO FAKES will be premiering in the United Kingdom this July. The film will likely appeal to those interested in art and crime, as well as those who are interested in legal issues surrounding the art world.


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Producer: Laura Baron Kastner

Executive Producer: Mark Anthony Jacobson

Editor: Michael Hannan

Original Score: Kevin Hearn

Cinematographer: Derek Rogers

Executive Producer, TVO: Jane Jankovic

For more information on the film and screenings near you, please visit There are no fakes website.

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One thought on “THERE ARE NO FAKES Film Review – A Web of Fraud

  1. I guess the reporter didn’t see the film like I just did or she would have conveyed it’s intensity. Starting with a man discovering his art is a fake lead to exposing men who go to any length to continue selling fakes. You’ll learn about this amazing artist and his work but it is a chilling story involving fake art, violent sexual, physical and mental abuse. My heart goes out to the victims. You will respect those fighting for justice. The end left me bewildered about justice in Canadian courts. This film is a real horror story deserved to be told.

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