From a media release:
Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures producer Daniel Fortin has announced the completion of principal photography of the unscripted series, Merchants of the Wild. Cameras rolled for the unique docu-series in the Constance Lake region of Northwestern Ontario.
Merchants of the Wild is a documentary series reconnecting six First Nations, Métis and Inuit adventurers with traditional skills and knowledge of the land. Mixing survival, culture, use of environment and adventure, Merchants of the Wild takes us back in time as the adventurers are pitted against the perils of the land, learning what it took to survive as they travel 16th-century fur trade routes used by Oji-Cree ancestors.
“I’m thrilled at the completion of the production. Everyone on the team feels a great honour and responsibility in sharing the beauty of the land and the cultural teachings taught by Oji-Cree Elders and Knowledge Keepers,” said director and producer Daniel Fortin. “This has truly been a unique and exciting journey that has deeply impacted all of those involved. On the production end, I couldn’t be happier to have a mentor in place like Sean Buckley. The experience Buck Productions brings has been irreplaceable.”
“Merchants of the Wild is about bravery, determination and understanding the beauty and importance of our environment,” said Sean Buckley, CEO, Buck Productions. “At Buck, we aim for involvement with engaging content that has a purpose, which is exactly what Daniel has brought with Merchants of the Wild. This was a special shoot for the team in Northern Canada, and we’re thrilled to help guide them forward and share it with the world.”
This announcement marks the inaugural series for Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures. For Buck Productions, this is the latest involvement in bringing to life over 30 originally created unscripted shows, including the five it created in-house in 2017.
Sean Buckley of Buck Productions is an executive producer and mentor for the docu-series. Merchants of the Wild was developed and produced by Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures for APTN, in partnership with the Canada Media Fund and Rogers Cable Network Fund. UK and Australian-based Beyond Distribution will handle international distribution.
Merchants of the Wild is a vivid reconnection to the land as six Indigenous women and men relive what survival was like on a fur trade expedition across the length and breadth of Northern Cree and Ojibway territories. Travelling in birch bark canoes, the brave group are taught by Elders and Knowledge Keepers, learning to make tools and use skills passed on orally through generations. These teachings are essential to their survival, as they take to the land with no modern technology on a 25-day voyage that will leave them forever changed. The series lets audiences experience what it took to endure perilous journeys, and gain not only cultural knowledge and appreciation, but discover ways in which they can better live harmoniously within their environment. The diverse group must use their collective knowledge and courage, alongside teachings from Oji-Cree Elders, to find food, make shelter, endure freezing nights, and overcome the entire emotional journey reconnecting them with the land.