Tag Archives: APTN

Nish Media’s documentary series Skindigenous sold to PBS & international broadcasters

From a media release:

The documentary series Skindigenous, which airs on APTN, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, has been licensed by PBS. The 13-episode x 26-minute series, which explores Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world, is produced by Gatineau’s Nish Media and is internationally represented by Filmoption International Inc. Skindigenous has been selected as an official 2020 Rockie Awards nominee in the Arts & Entertainment: Arts & Music category. The Rockie Awards will be streaming live today (June 15) at 3pm EDT on Youtube.

Season 1 of Skindigenous has been purchased by networks around the world: NITV (SBS) in Australia, RSI Switzerland and MAORI TV in New Zealand. UR Sweden and USHUAIA in France has purchased both seasons of the series.

Season 2 of the series is currently airing on APTN in both English and Dene until July 15, 2020. Season 3 is currently in production.

Skindigenous is a 13-part documentary series exploring Indigenous tattooing traditions around the world. Each episode dives into a unique Indigenous culture to discover the tools and techniques, the symbols and traditions that shape their tattooing art. In this series, the art of tattoo becomes a lens for exploring some of the planet’s oldest cultures and their unique perspectives on life, identity, and the natural world.

About Nish Media
The series is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Over the past years, producer Jason Brennan has produced over 220 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtTV, Canal D, TV5 and CBC Docs, including Mouki, Wapikoni, La Fosse aux tigres and seven seasons of Hit The Ice, nominated in prestigious television festivals including the Banff World Media Festival and Italy’s FICTS. Its first feature film, Le Dep, was selected to play in several film festivals including the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, ImagineNative and the American Indian Film Festival. Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s new feature film, Rustic Oracle was presented in several festivals over the last few months. Nish Media currently has several TV projects in the works, including Season 3 of Skindigenous, the dramatic miniseries Pour toi Flora as well as the documentary Non réclamé. 

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Award-winning Mohawk Girls to broadcast on CBC beginning June 16

From a media release:

Season 1 of the critically acclaimed, award-winning and much-loved Rezolution Pictures TV series Mohawk Girls  will begin broadcasting on CBC TV on Tuesday, June 16 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), as part of CBC’s Tuesday night comedy lineup. Following its run, Season 2 will launch Tuesday, August 4 on CBC and CBC Gem, and Seasons 3-5 will be available this fall on the free CBC Gem streaming service. Season 1 is available now on CBC Gem.

Over the course of its 4-year / 5-season run Mohawk Girls  was nominated for multiple Canadian Screen Awards including Best Comedy Series, Best Direction in a Comedy Series, Best Writing in a Comedy Series, and Best Actress in a Comedy Series. The dramedy series that originally aired on APTN from 2014-2017 was embraced by fans across the country, lauded by TV critics, and garnered a devout and diverse following who enthusiastically awaited the start of each season.

Mohawk Girls takes a comedic look at the lives of four modern-day women trying to stay true to their roots while navigating sex, work, love and what it means to be Mohawk in the 21st century. The half-hour dramedy follows these twenty-something women as they begin to forge their own identity within a community embedded with rules and cultural traditions.

The dynamic cast of four leading women includes Jenny Pudavick (Bailey), Brittany LeBorgne (Zoe), Heather White (Caitlin), and Maika Harper (Anna), as well as Canadian film & TV veterans Tantoo Cardinal as Zoe’s mother and Glen Gould as Bailey’s father.

Mohawk Girls was created and executive produced by Tracey Deer and Cynthia Knight; Tracey Deer directed the episodes and Cynthia Knight was the head writer and showrunner. The series was produced by Rezolution Pictures’ Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon and Linda Ludwick, and executive produced by Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick and Ernest Webb.

“We are so thrilled to have CBC air our show! We wanted to create a show that was unique, smart, relevant and empowering and we are so proud we get to relive each moment on television one more time.”
– Cynthia Knight, Series Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Head Writer/Showrunner

This series was my love letter to my community, to my people. It was a celebration of who we are and most importantly our women. I am extremely excited that the show has found a second home on CBC.”- Tracey Deer, Series Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Director

About Rezolution Pictures
Rezolution Pictures is an award-winning production company led by Ernest Webb and Catherine Bainbridge (co-founders and executive producers), Christina Fon (Vice-President and executive producer), and Linda Ludwick (CFO and executive producer). Rezolution is best known for its original and trailblazing productions such as feature documentaries RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, which screened worldwide and won multiple awards at Sundance, Hot Docs, and the Canadian Screen Awards, among others; and Reel Injun, which won multiple Geminis, and a Peabody Award. Rezolution also made its mark in scripted television with Canadian Screen Award-nominated comedy series, Mohawk Girls, which aired for five seasons on APTN, was recently broadcast as part of Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment and will now will now be available on the CBC Gem streaming service. From ground-breaking documentaries to innovative scripted series, Rezolution has helped shape Canada’s film and television industry for the past two decades, working with many of the country’s best new and established talents to create unique content, as well as video game and Virtual Reality content through its sister company Minority Media. An effective mix of production, creative, and executive experience has positioned Rezolution for global success as it turns its focus to developing and producing premium content with international partners.

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Season 2 of Coyote Science celebrates Indigenous science on APTN

I love shows like Coyote Science. Though it’s aimed at kids, I found myself learning a heck of a lot about science and how it ties into the First Nations community.

Returning for a second season on APTN this Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, Coyote Science boasts super-cool animation and a punchy soundtrack, not to mention A-list Indigenous scientists like Percy Paul, a mathematician and physicist who explains the science of a skateboarding technique called an ollie; Jessica Bekker, an electrical engineer helping Indigenous communities develop sustainable energy from solar to wind; Naxaxalhts’i Sonny McHaisle, who has extensive knowledge of the traditional technology of the Sto:lo Nation; and Corey Gray, who works with the Nobel Prize team that measured gravitational waves at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

We spoke to Métis Cree filmmaker Loretta Todd—an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker—about creating Coyote Science, what viewers can learn and what her plans are for Season 3 amid COVID-19.

Tell me about how Coyote Science came about in the first place.
Loretta Todd: I’ve been a bit of an amateur science nerd for a long time. As an Indigenous person, I’ve always been conscious of the fact that we don’t seem to be in that space of science, except maybe as specimens, or something that is studied. And yet I knew that when I was growing up, I had relatives who were very innovative with technology, could fix anything because that’s what we had to do, who seemed to have deep knowledge of the land, and so on. And so, those things all pertain to science and technology. And also, as I started making films, I would meet new people.

I always like to reference Dr. Leroy Little Bear and his wife, Amethyst First Rider, because they have always been one of my greatest inspirations for much of the work I do as a filmmaker.

Another person who influenced me is someone who’s in the children’s series, John Herrington, who is an astronaut, the first Indigenous astronaut in space. He talks about us as being natural scientists, that Indigenous science, as Indigenous people, we observe, and that from the observations we gain knowledge. We may not have the scientific method, which the west sort of prescribes as a necessity to really be science, but we certainly are engaged in observation and learning from that observation, and even testing, maybe not in the same way as a lab, but we’re doing that now anyway.

Is there a formula for each episode?
LT: There’s a whole parameter of things that influence the shaping of Coyote Science. You sort of have a mission statement or a set of parameters that I wrote out. Drawing from that, but also drawing from my knowledge of Indigenous learning, and just sort of like, ‘OK, this is what we do, this is what we don’t do.’ We’re respectful of adults. We reinforce healthy family relationships. All these things we sort of model that are things that are values within the Native community. Within the Cree culture, we talk about this idea of the good life. It doesn’t mean a materialistic type of life.

It’s a good life in which you’re respectful of family, community, the world around you. So again, I try to embody that. And plus, the other thing is, you’re always trying to underline this idea of encouraging confidence, young people having respect for themselves, liking themselves, seeing that they can do this. And then also, kids like to see other kids reflected back to them. That’s something that’s a constant in educational media. That’s why you see a lot of Indigenous kids. I thought that was really important.

Your host, Isa, is fantastic. 
LT: One of the other things I try to do in my children’s series, and I’ve done that right from the beginning, just because I think it makes it easier for all of us, is I work with kids that I know. I didn’t do an open casting. I asked family and friends. And of course, many of my family and friends are themselves involved in media in some way. So I was looking for kids that were comfortable in front of the camera. That’s sort of one of the first things is to search that out. Isa is my niece’s husband’s niece. She’s brilliant.

She’s now at first-year university, but she’s a straight-A student her whole life, and science has always been an area of her expertise.

Season 3 of Coyote Science is heading into production. How will you do that with COVID-19 still a concern?
LT: I had to convince the broadcaster APTN and CMF that I could do this comfortably, I could do it safely. One of the things that I’m really, really fortunate to have is the fact that through Season 1 and 2 and also through my previous children’s series, I’ve developed these relationships with Indigenous directors, and cinematographers, and other crew, who have kids at home. So basically, what I can do is have them do the quests with their kids at home, because they’ve got the equipment, they’ve got the skill. Some of them are cinematographers and directors, and some of them have got one kid, some of them have got six kids.

Some live in the city, some live out in the country, so we could kind of adjust to that. Some have green screens even, so we can adjust to that. And then, in cases where maybe the only real critical thing I’m worried about is sound, so our plan is to do some online sound workshops with one of our sound recordists, and get one of their family members, the husband, or the wife, or one of their teenage kids, to train in sound so that we can then make sure that we have good quality sound as well.

Coyote Science airs Sundays at 10 a.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Coyote Science Inc.

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Tribal’s Brian Markinson: “Everywhere you see, this is Indigenous peoples’ lands”

I’ve been a fan of Brian Markinson’s for years. I first saw him on Da Vinci’s Inquest (Seasons 1 and 2 are on CBC Gem) and Da Vinci’s City Hall as Police Chief Bill Jacobs. Since then, he’s appeared on countless TV shows I’ve watched, from Shattered to Sanctuary, Arctic Air to Continuum, The Romeo Section and more.

So when I saw he was co-starring with Jessica Matten on Tribal, I had to reach out and book some time to talk. Ron E. Scott’s newest series—airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN and recently renewed for Season 2—puts Matten’s interim Tribal police chief Sam Woodburn alongside veteran, white city cop Chuck “Buke” Bukansky, played by Markinson, to solve crimes on and off the reservation. Season 1 storylines include pipeline protects, healing lodge justice and murdered and missing Indigenous women.

How did you come to be on Tribal in the first place?
Brian Markinson: I first heard of Ron through Blackstone. Friends and some other folks that I know, that I respect, had gone and done arcs on the show. I’ve always heard that he’s just one of the nicest guys, a fantastic producer. And so, when I was sent Tribal, I was really only sent three scenes. I read these three scenes from the first episode, and I really had a sense of who [Buke] is. The prototype was maybe a little bit different for me. He was sort of maybe an older, bigger, a big, heavy old school cop.

But I loved those three scenes so much that I called my agent, and I said, ‘I have a handle on it.’ I thought I did a good job at the audition. I said, ‘If there’s any interest, let’s please pursue this one,’ because it’s very rare that you see writing, and characters that are sketched for me. This guy, for me, I just understood where he was coming from, and his pain, and all that fun stuff. And then Ron and I met because there was interest, and we sat down, and we thought we would talk for an hour. We talked for three. And then it was sort of sealed at that point.

When we first meet up with Buke, he’s sitting in a bar, these young guys are asking about old war stories, and he goes to the washroom and pops some pills. There’s some pain there in his life.
BM: You find out a little bit about where that comes from. And then, there’s an event that happens. I think he was a very good cop, and I think he had a run-in, that sort of feeds into where his prejudices lie when it comes to Indigenous peoples. After that, I think he’s not the same person. He’s in physical pain, and I also think he’s in immense emotional pain. He’s a guy who is not, as you said, he’s not a part of these young studs on the force, and he doesn’t really have a foot in Tribal, so he’s in limbo a lot of the time.

Ironic, because Sam’s going through the same thing. She’s told by members of the Indigenous peoples that she’s a sellout. But yet she doesn’t fit with the city cops either.
BM: Exactly. So you have these two people who float, and the whole intention of the justice department is to create this new sort of thing, and, unbeknownst to them, they do. And then, these two seemingly parallel lines, that we never think are going to meet, are skewed enough towards each other, that through the course of this season, they become closer, and they find a way to trust each other, and things that spin outside of their relationship sort of force them together as well. There’s a lot of room to plumb some great stuff, and he’s created this relationship that we can really hang our hats on. We have the crime of the week that you can hook into, but I think at the core of this, as Ron likes to call it, it’s a serialized procedural.

What’s it like for you, acting on this show, in these storylines, that is very true to life and involves colonialism?
BM: My politics are very progressive. I live in Vancouver. Whenever you go to any sort of public event, whether it’s the theatre or whatever, they start by saying, ‘We’re honoured to be performing on the unceded lands.’ But as Ron said to me, ‘It’s all ours.’ It really hit home when he said that, that everywhere you see, this is Indigenous peoples’ lands. Wherever you travel. I don’t, in any way, pretend to be anything else except a student of this history.

Tribal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Prairie Dog Film + Television.

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Tribal’s Jessica Matten: “There’s always going to be prejudices and stereotypes”

It’s always a pleasure to speak to Jessica Matten. The actress doesn’t shy away from discussing issues that are close to her heart. And many of them are tied to Tribal.

Ron E. Scott’s newest creation—airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN—puts Matten’s interim Tribal police chief Sam Woodburn alongside veteran, white city cop Chuck “Buke” Bukansky, played by Brian Markinson, to solve crimes on and off the reservation. Season 1 storylines include pipeline protects, healing lodge justice and murdered and missing Indigenous women. The last topic hits particularly close to Matten, who discusses that—and more—with me.

What’s it been like being the lead and working alongside Brian Markinson on this series? On Frontier, you had a large role, but I’d argue that this is probably the largest television role that you’ve had.
Jessica Matten: The beauty of Frontier is that I was considered a lead, but that was an ensemble, and ultimately it was Jason [Momoa’s] show. The pressure didn’t really fall on me in a lot of respects. With being a lead, I realized there’s a whole new amount of responsibility, the biggest one is setting the tone for the entire show. I just wanted everyone to feel super welcomed and for them to understand, no matter what the size of their role was, that they were super integral to the process and the storyline.

There definitely was a lot of pressure to just make sure everyone was always cool. But I think because we created such a strong foundation of being a kind, collaborative set, there were no problems in that regard. The hardest thing was the amount of dialogue because we really …  Ron, Brian and I really, everyone, the whole crew, we really pushed it. We shot eight one-hour episodes in 39 days. A full day is six to eight pages of dialogue and I was doing 13 to 17 pages a day.

What is it about Ron E. Scott that makes him such a great showrunner?
JM: I think Ron is sincerely one of the kindest humans ever. And I think when you’re working with a kind human in any industry, I mean, you’re just going to feed off of that, right? With kindness comes empathy, a person who knows how to empathize, and also instinct to understand what the other person needs. So imagine a kind person who happens to be your director, showrunner, producer, writer, guiding you throughout the whole thing. He’s coming from a place from the heart constantly.

Blackstone was my first big gig, and even though I knew some of the actors since I was literally a child. I’ve known Glen Gould since I was 10 years old. That helped me with any intimidation that I had or felt. But when I met Ron, he’s not only amazing at giving an actor good direction, but he’s just calm, and that’s what you need in a leader is when shit hits the fan. You need a calm leader that isn’t going to delegate things in a disrespectful or non-passionate way.

What kind of feedback did you have with regard to Sam and who she was and how you wanted to play her?
JM: I’ve turned down roles, which I’m extremely grateful for, big studio roles where they were perpetuating a negative stereotype of a native woman. And I was just like, ‘I haven’t come this far, I didn’t do the role as Sokanon in Frontier just to revert back to a stereotypical character.’ How can I empower people of what it means to be a native woman, and they’d go back to something that very much dehumanized a native woman in a lot of respects. And the cool thing is I had brought that up with Ron as well. As Ron’s like, ‘Jess, you and I have the same thought. I want to create the first female native superhero. She doesn’t come from a bad family. She doesn’t have a bunch of baggage. I want her to present yourself in a way that you know exists in our native communities.’

Ron has been at the forefront of putting Indigenous people in a contemporary setting, in the spotlight forever, and he always just pushes things forward and I just respect him so much. It was a very, very much a collaborative effort about making Sam believable, tough and likable at the same time.

Sam is called a sellout. She’s caught in this world. She’s a cop. She’s got an old white man as her partner. So she’s not fitting in the white world traditionally, but she’s not fitting in her own world. Is that part of her journey this year, walking between these two worlds?
JM: Thank you for catching that because that was a powerful moment for me too as an actor, so I’m so happy you caught that. Yeah, and I think what we’re going to explore later on in future seasons is where that comes from, more about her family background and her history. I think that’s kind of the theme throughout the entire season is Sam walking in between two different worlds constantly. And not only her careers walking between different worlds, but her being half-native, so it’s like she was born walking between two different worlds and I think that’s what’s really given her an inside and outside perspective of what happens within her native community, but also an understanding of what happens outside of native communities as well.

Some of the storylines this season include a pipeline explosion and murdered and missing Indigenous women. These are stories that are true, are being ripped from the headlines. How does it feel to have these stories that are so close and part of your life being shown in a drama on television? Is it kind of a way of educating?
JM: It’s a way of educating and continuously creating awareness, and also in a lot of ways, to be honest, coincidental. It just proves how relevant and how those issues have not gone away. And that is something that I’m very happy that Tribal touches on, two issues that have not gone away, have not been resolved. My biggest thing was, with the missing and murdered Indigenous women is that one of my relatives is one of the victims.

My family to this day still has not gotten justice. They still struggle every day. It’s hard. It’s extremely hard. And yet, remember five years ago there was this big awareness for it and it became kind of trending on the news for a hot second? And all the celebrities were joining on board. And trust me, even celebrities in Hollywood were like, ‘Oh, we’re going to make a documentary about this.’ And then once that died down, the new hashtag and the new trendy thing, topic to follow, everyone jumped on board that wagon and everyone disappeared off the MMIW train. That annoyed me and I knew it was going to happen. I was grateful for it. But at the same time, that’s why you’ll notice on my social media, I never support anything outside of MMIW or if it’s related to it, because my biggest thing is, nothing got resolved and this isn’t a hashtag, trendy, charitable thing. It’s not trendy. It’s my life, and it’s other people’s lives and it’s super important.

I’m glad that Tribal is still harping on that issue. I’m glad that Tribal is targeting the pipeline issue because what’s happening in communities right now in B.C. And I really want to emphasize this, for non-Indigenous people who don’t understand why people are protesting, it’s not just because it’s on our territory. It’s because these people on the frontlines are protecting our future girls and women from being raped and murdered.

What happens is these manned camps get built while the pipelines are made, and that is where the highest rate of girls go missing and murdered. And so I want the general public to remember that, no matter what, there’s always going to be prejudices and stereotypes in the world against any culture because we have this beautiful way of forgetting that we’re all one and the same, we’re just human.

Tribal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Prairie Dog Film + Television.

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