A movie production team hoping to film in the Rocky Mountain national parks says their application was turned down after Parks Canada staff learned the plot involved an indigenous gang leader.

Mark Voyce is the location manager for a film project featuring film star Liam Neeson and aboriginal Canadian actor and singer Tom Jackson.

Voyce says his team began working with Parks Canada in December on permits for a crime drama to be shot on location in Banff and Jasper national parks.

Voyce says that last week a parks official called to ask if one of the characters in the film, a gang leader, would be aboriginal.

Voyce says that when he said yes, the official told him that wasn’t something Parks Canada would favour.

Parks Canada denied the permit in a letter, citing aboriginal concerns and suggesting the project might need an environmental assessment.

In an emailed response, Parks Canada says it maintains the right to refuse applications that aren’t in line with its mandate or priorities.