Tag Archives: APTN

Link: Blackstone creator Ron E. Scott filming First Nations crime drama Tribal in Calgary

From Eric Volmers of the Calgary Herald:

Link: Blackstone creator Ron E. Scott filming First Nations crime drama Tribal in Calgary
There are worse dilemmas for a television creator.

But Ron E. Scott’s previous project, the Edmonton-shot TV drama Blackstone, was so dark and singular that it’s hard to imagine how he might top it with a followup. The series ran for five seasons on Showcase and APTN, offering an unflinching and often harrowing look at the corruption, addiction and violence that plagued a fictional Alberta First Nations reserve. Continue reading.


Jennifer Podemski tells stories of Indigenous communities in APTN’s Future History

I can’t get enough of history, especially when it comes to Canada. What I dismissed as boring when I was in high school has become a fascination. And, thanks to APTN, I’ve learned a lot about Indigenous peoples and their stories.

A plethora of tales is told in Season 2 of Jennifer Podemski’s excellent Future History. Airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, the program has really hit its stride in the sophomore go-round as producer-director Podemski follows Indigenous activist and artist Sarain Fox and archaeologist Kris Nahrgang through 13 half-hour episodes. For Nahrgang, this journey is deeply personal. He was raised not knowing anything about his First Nations roots and continues to gain knowledge this year. In the show’s May 14 debut, viewers learned how Nahrgang’s grandmother covered her skin with makeup to look white and joined what Nahrgang’s mother called “white clubs.”

“It’s not a story you often hear,” Podemski says. “Especially in this journey of reclamation, I think that many Canadians who see themselves as white, or non-Native, might never have considered they too might be a Kris.” The idea for Future History came about because of a meeting Podemski had with a production company working with Nahrgang on a possible archaeology project. The actress, writer, producer and director was intrigued at the idea of something historical, but with a future slant. Adding a younger co-host, Podemski reasoned, would polarize not just Nahrgang’s distance from his culture but his age and on-camera experience.

“That also helps people really understand that he is on a very uncomfortable journey,” she says. The uncomfortable feeling really comes through, especially when Nahrgang gamely agrees to attend an Ojibway immersion camp where no English is spoken for days. Fox and Nahrgang visit different areas of the country in their journeys, visiting Southern Ontario locales like Orillia, Peterborough, Kitchener and Manitoulin Island. Their segments are broken up by the Talking Stick, where Indigenous members of the community look straight into the camera to vent frustrations, give advice or voice concerns.

“We were only looking for a minute, but it started a lot of great conversations and I really wanted it to feel not necessarily thematically tied to the episode,” Podemski says. “I wanted it to be a voice from the community, another texture that may be totally unrelated to what we are talking about.

“When we’re telling stories through an Indigenous lens it’s so important to me that we don’t paint them with one brush.”

Future History airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on APTN. You can watch past episodes on APTN.ca.

Image courtesy of APTN.


Hockey show Hit the Ice Season 7 starts on APTN June 12 with all-female Indigenous players

From a media release:

The youth hockey series Hit The Ice will be returning to APTN for its seventh season! The 13-episode series, features female Indigenous hockey hopefuls, from communities across the country, as they and their team are put through the paces of a real NHL style training camp by a top professional coach, with one important difference: All the players are female, and led by Sochi Gold Medal winning coach Lisa Haley. The first episode airs on APTN East, HD and West feed on June 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm. Repeats air on June 15, 2019 East, West, and North feed at 11:00 am, and on June 16th East, West and North feed at 10:00 am. Complete broadcasting schedule details for Season 7 can be found on our website: www.hittheice.tv. Hit The Ice is also broadcasted in Cree and this schedule is also available online: www.hittheice.tv/index.php?g_int_AppLanguageId=2

Hit The Ice Season 7 recruited Canada’s most talented young Indigenous female hockey players and invited them to participate in a 2-week training camp that was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to get recruited by various University teams from Canada and the US. The selected team experienced high level coaching and off-Ice preparations where lifelong friendships were made. This experience also allowed the girls to meet members of Team Canada. The two week long journey culminated with participation inthe Boston Beantown Classic in Boston, MA, the equivalent of a high level hockey showcase.

An elite coaching staff was formed and the team was lead by none other than current Ryerson Head Coach and Canadian Olympian Lisa Haley. Serving as assistant coaches were Canadian Olympian Brigette Lacquette, Margaret “MJ” Jennings and goalie coach Jenesica Drinkwater as the Goalie Coach. Off-Ice training was overseen by Aaron Paibomsai.

During the 2015-16 season, Lisa Haley served as the head coach for the Canada Women’s National Under-18 Team, capturing a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds. Prior to the appointment, she captured gold as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team at the 2015 Nations Cup. She is currently the head coach of the Ryerson Rams women ice hockey program, which competes in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

The complete details with regards to the seventh season of the Hit The Ice TV show are available at www.hittheice.tv. On the site there are extra clips to get into the heads of season 7’s players and discover their fears, opinions, tips and tricks, and their funniest moments on the show!

Over the years, Hit The Ice has demonstrated its positive impact on young Indigenous hockey players with many of them now playing in some of the top Junior leagues in the continent. Recently, Brady Keeper, a Hit The Ice Alumni suited for his first NHL game this year with the Florida Panthers. Hit The Ice is produced by Nish Media, a multi-award-winning production company based in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. The past seasons of this series have been nominated in prestigious television festivals such as the Banff World Media Festival and by the FICTS in Italy.

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 ten years, producer Jason Brennan has produced over 200 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtV, Canal D, TV5 and CBC Docs, including Mouki, Wapikoni, La Fosse aux tigres and six seasons of Hit The Ice. 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. Nish Media is currently adapting Marc Séguin’s novel Nord Alice for film, and is currenty awaiting the release of its second feature “Rustic Oracle” in late 2019.


Ron E. Scott’s Tribal goes to camera for APTN

From a media release:

APTN and Prairie Dog Film + Television’s new one-hour crime drama series, TRIBAL begins production today in Calgary.

TRIBAL follows a First Nation Tribal Police Force as they navigate a controversial new Chief amid allegations of corruption and takeover from the federal government. TRIBAL’s award-winning cast includes Jessica Matten (Frontier, Blackstone) and Brian Markinson (Mad Men, Unspeakable). The series will also feature the talented Michelle Thrush, Justin Rain, Garry Chalk, Adam MacDonald and Julian Black Antelope.

In TRIBAL, the department of Federal Justice attempts to save political face under the mask of inclusion and collaboration as they take control of the Tribal Police Force. Interim Tribal Chief Samantha Woodburn (Matten) attempts to overcome political red tape, and must also prove herself amongst the old-white-boys club of the Metro Police. Thrust into an unfamiliar world, she navigates politics and procedure as she clashes with her new partner, Chuck “Buke” Bukansky (Markinson), a seasoned but broken-down Metro Police detective. This season examines First Nation crime stories based on real-world cases, including mistaken identity, pipeline controversy, healing lodge justice, social services, tobacco and missing Indigenous Peoples.

TRIBAL Showrunner and Director Ron E. Scott is a prolific producer and innovator, who has contributed to over 190 episodes of TV that have broadcasted globally on Netflix, including the ground-breaking one-hour dramatic series Blackstone, now streaming on APTN and CBC.

Filming locations include Calgary and the Tsuu T’ina First Nation in Alberta, Canada. TRIBAL is produced by Ron E. Scott, Janet Hamley, Adam Frost and Nancy Laing from Prairie Dog Film + Television. The series will broadcast in Canada on APTN.


APTN’s Tribal Police Files: Steve Sxwithul’txw previews Season 2

New season, new location. After its first season focused on the  Stl’atl’imx Nation in the Lillooet region of British Columbia, director and producer Steve Sxwithul’txw brought Tribal Police Files to Ontario, spotlighting the Rama Police Service.

The 13-episode second season—broadcast Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN—once again captures the lives of not just the Indigenous police officers on and off the job, but those living in the community as well. In Saturday’s first episode, we hit the road for a routine traffic stop, learn the history of the area—including how the casino necessitated the police force’s growth—and recall how a devastating accident tore the area apart.

We spoke to Steve Sxwithul’txw ahead of Saturday’s return.

Why did you decide to come east and to specifically focus on the Rama police force in Season 2?
Steve Sxwithul’txw: The decision was pretty easy when deciding which community we would highlight. We put a vast call out to First Nations communities that have their own police service, and Rama responded quite quickly. I did my research and realized immediately that this was one of those services that has pretty much everything and it was very high functioning and had a lot of the amenities that some police services that I know, don’t. It would give a really unique perspective, especially with the large casino in place, and how that could change the dynamics of the community over a period of time. So there was some history there to tell, and watching their growth and knowing that they have this amazing first responder crew. I had every level that deals with their people and takes care of them. I thought that was a no-brainer in my opinion, for Season 2.

Doing a little bit of digging into the First Nations policing program in the first place, I had no clue that that even existed. It was a real learning experience for me.
SS: Oh, that’s good. Yeah, it’s been in place since 1995, and the Liberals came in in early 2015, 2016, and they brushed it up with a bit of money and enhanced it a bit. Still, a long way to go across the country, but it was a good first start.

You said that Rama responded. What about the First Nations community on the whole? Was it hard to sell the show to them and say, ‘Listen, we want to tell your stories of the community as well as the police force.’ How did that all work out?
SS: Well, any time that you have cameras in First Nation communities, in the past, especially in relation to certain media, it’s been a real negative experience for our people. As an Indigenous person, and producer, having that distinctive knowledge as a former reporter as well, knowing that we need to break down some barriers and let them know that we’re from the community. I’m not from Rama, but I’m of Indigenous ancestry here, and I’ve lived on reserve and off reserve. I certainly can connect and relate to the lifestyles in which we live on reserve across the country. It’s basically really winning over their trust, and of course, we always follow protocol with our crew. We did that through the police service and as well through the chief and council. And many meetings with them, and discussions with them about our approach and what we wanted to do.

It’s not an easy ask of a community, but at the same time, I think quite quickly, and watching through Season 1 you can see my approach in terms of how I want to relay my messaging through the work that the officers do, and as well how we want to portray the community as a whole. If you watched all of the episodes you would see quite quickly that 95 per cent of the time I’m staying in the positive light of what’s happening, and there are reasons and rationale for certain things that are happening. And using those factoids throughout the episodes, it enhances these reasons and rationale about why these things might happen and what supports might be out there, and those kinds of things. That’s something that I’m always trying to highlight.

A woman sits in a car.Not only are you seeing these police officers out on duty, but you’re also finding out about their home life. So can you talk about the importance of showing their behind-the-scenes lives once the uniforms come off?
SS: I think that’s really important. I think that’s one of the premises of the brainchild of the show when I first thought of this many years ago, was that we’re people too. I see myself still as a police officer all these years later, that when you’re out in the community, and you’ve got your gun and your badge and your car, and you’re out there doing your thing, that people just see you as this robot doing your job. When you take that all off, we’re all the same, we all have children, we all have families, we all have lives, and it’s really peeling back the layers of that officer, so you can see who he/she is, so you can a common understanding and be able to relate to that person a little bit more when you see them in community.

It just breaks down that barrier of the badge and the gun, and you’re there to take our kids away, which back in the day, and in the colonial times where our kids were taken away by police officers, there’s still that stigma out there. It’s really important to make sure that we highlight that in a visual way to just show that they’re everyday, great people, which honestly, all those officers we work with are incredible. Just amazing human beings.

From a production standpoint, what were some of the logistical challenges that you have? What were some of the logistical challenges of filming a documentary series where you don’t have a studio? You’re on the fly all the time.
SS: Well, the road is your studio, so wherever they’re going, we’re going, and logistically it can be a nightmare to be challenging. We’ve had the chase car get lost and going Code Three going to a call, we have radios, we have phones, we have that kind of technology to let our second crew know where we’re at and where we’re going. There was always a crew in the car with the officers responding to whatever it might be, and usually it’s myself in the back along with our sound guy. But it’s a careful, careful balance and the officers, we prep them. We went through the basics of what we require as a film crew to make sure that they’re aware that we have somebody that’s competent, a former police officer, who’s a producer, who understands what you might be dealing with in certain instances. You can actually talk to me about some of these files and cases, and I’ll know how to respond and know what to do, and share advice back and forth, which is amazing.

Number two, our safety is my responsibility moreso than it is on the officers, so don’t worry about us. I’ll be taking care of all of that. Just do your job, and we’ll make sure that we follow through in a safe way, and we won’t jeopardize whatever you’re doing in any way, shape or form that would impede on your work. So logistically, that was always a challenge to make sure that we had a chase car following, and the dynamics of that can change at any time. You just go with the flow. You can’t predict these kind of things, and you just have to go with what’s delivered, and try to make the best with what you have in the moment.

What can you say about what’s coming up in Season 2?
SS: We have a lot of stories that impact these officers. What you’re going to see from each episode as we go on is a recreation of those intense moments that really shook officers up, that really made them think about the work that they do, and how it affects them on an everyday basis, and how those little things such as PTSD might come into conversations about how they affect your everyday life and you can see that as we became friends with these officers, and how much that does impact many members that are out there across the country working when you have to deal with these tough files, so you’re going to see some water rescues, obviously some more tragedy, and as well some fun stories too as well. Some really cute stories involving wildlife and wilderness.

Of course the elders, the powwows, community events, which is really important, and you’ll see that we’ve ingrained a lot of Ojibwa language, which is really important for us as a production, is that language revitalization is something that we are honestly working so hard to make sure that we portray it in a different way that even though there’s probably not a lot of people that can understand the language, other than some of the elders in the community, there might be people beyond that, but we want to make sure that that’s something for the kids, for the youth, to say, ‘Hey, that’s really cool. That’s our language.’ And be able to hear it and see it on television happening, and that’s really what’s an integral part of what we’re trying to portray. So you’ll see a lot of that through all 13 episodes.

Tribal Police Files airs Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET on APTN.