Wapanatahk Media launches to focus on original and authentic Indigenous stories

From a media release:

Wapanatahk Media, co-owned and headed by Indigenous producers Tania Koenig-Gauchier and Shirley Mclean, launches today in partnership with Great Pacific Media, the Factual and Scripted Division of Thunderbird Entertainment. Wapanatahk Media’s vision is to create an array of top-quality production content, for broadcasters and streaming platforms that tell original and authentic Indigenous stories. The studio also prioritizes the training and employment of BIPOC peoples in the television industry.

Wapanatahk Media’s first green-lit series, Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet, goes into production in April 2021 and will feature a training program to mentor up-and-coming Indigenous filmmakers. The 9×30 series follows the adventures of Métis veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she keeps rural Alberta’s pet and animal population healthy and thriving, all while learning more about her recently confirmed Métis bloodline. The series will employ Indigenous production staff in Vancouver and Alberta, and sponsor apprenticeships throughout the summer of 2021. The series is scheduled to air on APTN and Cottage Life in 2022.

Tania Koenig-Gauchier is a Métis (Cree) television producer whose family originates from Northern Alberta. She has more than 20 years of experience in broadcasting and independent production. She has worked as a producer for CTV, APTN and CBC, and has a background in business management, marketing and promotions for television. Tania is very excited to be partnered with Great Pacific Media (Thunderbird Entertainment), as they mentor her in the development and licencing of content for mainstream broadcasters and streaming platforms. Tania’s passions are creating opportunities for emerging Indigenous talent and in telling authentic Indigenous stories. Most recently, she spent five years in the position of manager of programming (western region) at APTN.

Shirley Mclean is a talented and respected storyteller, who has strong links to the creative communities of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, crew and producers. She is of Tlingit and Tagish descent from the Dakl’aweidi Killer Whale clan and is a member of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation in the Yukon. Her extensive history in broadcasting spans two decades. Currently, she is working on various productions at Great Pacific Media as a series producer, director, story editor and story producer. Prior to this, she spent eight years with APTN as a national reporter/producer in their Whitehorse bureau. Throughout her career, she has worked as a story producer, director and reporter for Northern Native Broadcasting Yukon, CBC North, and the national news magazine series called First Story for CTV in Vancouver.

Wapanatahk Media develops and produces top-quality unscripted, scripted, digital and animated content for broadcasters and streaming platforms, with a focus on telling original and authentic Indigenous stories and providing training and hiring opportunities for BIPOC employees in the television industry. Wapanatahk Media is co-owned and headed by Indigenous producers Tania Koenig-Gauchier and Shirley Mclean.