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Hyena Road

dramatic war film written, directed by and starring Paul Gross . It was shown in the Gala Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival .The film was shown on 24 September 2015, at the Calgary Film Festival ,before a general release on 9 October. It won three Canadian Screen Awards .

In Kandahar Province , Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces are encountering resistance from insurgents as they construct "Hyena Road" deep into Taliban territory. Warrant Officer Ryan Sanders, the leader of a sniper section, finds himself under heavy fire while on sentry duty on the road. After their assigned evacuation vehicles are unable to reach their location, the section moves on foot and reaches a Pashtun village. They are harboured by a tribal elder in his home, who sends the Taliban away after they attack the village while searching for the Canadians. Sanders and his section evacuate the area and return to base, where his secret lover Captain Jennifer Bowman, a communications officer, is also stationed. Meanwhile, Captain Pete Mitchell, an intelligence officer, carries out normal duties as the road is constructed, with little help from the Canadian's Afghan allies. When he hears Sanders' story of the Afghan elder, he decides to search for the man as a potential ally. He is helped in his search by a local asset assisting against the Taliban, called The Cleaner. While a search of the village yields nothing, Sanders is able to remember that the elder has eyes of two different colours, with one being brown and the other blue. Mitchell is immediately able to identify the man as "the Ghost", a former fighter against the Soviets who gained his nickname for disappearing every time he was wounded, as his comrades would take him across the mountains into Pakistan, out of the range of the Soviets.

Mitchell eventually arranges a meeting with the Ghost, but he refuses to accept money as a deal for his help, stating that he is now an old man and his days of combat are behind him. Meanwhile, the Canadians' Afghan ally, Bashir Daoud Khan (BDK) and his son, Karim, are double-crossing them and are working with the Taliban. Sanders' section sees this firsthand while observing the Ghost visit his son's home and granddaughters. The home was situated on land owned by BDK, while the crops had been destroyed by a Coalition airstrike some time in the past, leaving the Ghost's son with nothing to give BDK as his tithe for protection. Soon after the Ghost leaves, BDK arrives with Taliban protection and instructs the Ghost's son to pay up his money. When the son states that the entire opium crop was destroyed, BDK kidnaps the Ghost's granddaughters. Sander's fireteam observe the whole scene, but Mitchell repeatedly instructs them to hold their fire as they do not fully understand local politics. While everyone in the Canadian intelligence group knows their Afghan allies are crooked, there is no alternative in the province and they need all the help they can get.

Meanwhile, Bowman reveals to Sanders that she is pregnant with his son, having conceived while both were on leave. Sanders rejoices in this, despite it being a serious problem regarding military regulations prohibiting fraternization.

The Canadians follow the Ghost, who has declared a personal war against BDK in revenge for the kidnapping of the girls. With assistance from his tribe, the Ghost abducts BDK's son Karim and beheads him when he is unable to reveal the location of the girls. Following this, the Ghost arranges a meeting with BDK in an isolated house, at the same time when BDK is supposed to be with the Canadians as they commemorate the opening of Hyena road. BDK agrees to exchange the girls for Karim. However, when BDK arrives with his bodyguards in a convoy, he demands to know the location of his son. The Ghost response by opening a sac he has brought and holding up Karim's severed head, at which point BDK pulls out his pistol and threatens to kill the Ghost. Sanders and his section, who have been observing the incident, fires on BDK as they have positive intent of violence. They do not, however, know that the Ghost desired to die having nothing else to live for, and only wanted to avenge his grandchildren who he assumed were lost forever. As the section pulls out, dozens of Taliban insurgents arrive and they are trapped with the Ghost around the house. Although they fight off the insurgents, there is no support available and the Canadians are pinned down. After Travis, one of the members of Sanders' section, is shot in the head by a sniper, the section decides to relocate into the house under heavy enemy fire. As they move, they run into an IED, incapacitating the section, with Sanders being the only section member left, along with the Ghost. Recognizing that there is no escape, Sanders calls for an artillery strike on his location to eliminate the insurgents. After apologizing for the last time to Bowman, who desperately tries to countermand the order, Sanders tells the Ghost that he was going to be a father, something the Ghost appears to understand despite him not speaking English. Moments later, the artillery rounds hit the house obliterating Sanders, the Ghost, and many of the Taliban insurgents around them.

Later, Canadian troops rescue numerous Afghan children including the Ghost's granddaughters from one of BDK's safehouses, having acted on the Cleaner's information and other assets. The film ends with the ramp ceremony for Sanders and his section as Mitchell talks about how things will eventually get better, in the long term.

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