A new television series coming to the streaming service Crave is currently being filmed in Manitoba featuring Indigenous cast and crew members and training opportunities for those interested in learning the ropes of television.
The six-part, one-hour series Little Bird, was created by Jennifer Podemski and Hannah Moscovitch in association with APTN and Rezolution Pictures.
Podemski, who is from Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan, gave a brief breakdown of the series.
“It is about a woman who is searching for her birth family originally born in Saskatchewan. She was raised in a Jewish family in Montreal and on the eve of her engagement to a beautiful man, she decides to embark on a journey to find the truth of her past,” Podemski said.
Award-winning filmmakers Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Zoe Hopkins will each direct three episodes.
Cast members include Darla Contois, Ellyn Jade, Osawa Muskwa, Mathew Strongeagle and Eric Schweig among others.
The production of Little Bird is unique in that it features a training program for emerging and mid-career level, Indigenous creators and crew, while also paving a path for entry-level individuals to gain practical on-set experience.
“One of the realities is that we as Indigenous people represent such a low number of the workforce of the film industry and that’s due to a variety of reasons but one of the things I think that’s important to recognize is that training is a big part building capacity and in order to really make a place for ourselves in the industry, training is at the centre of that effort,” Podemski said.
Jamie Felix, from Berens River First Nation, is one of the actors and crew members part of the training program and he said it’s a great way to get an overall feel for the industry.
“I know I’ll be doing lighting so you got to learn about the lighting and see how all the cameras are set up, I’ll be in the back watching everybody do their work. I’m learning a little bit here and there and just by speaking with everybody how you do this how you do that and they’re teaching me a little bit here, a little bit there,” Felix told APTN News.
Felix added when he joined the production he thought it would only be a one-day task.
“At first, I was just like ‘oh it’s just a one-day job thing, extra money,’ but then next thing you know it’s like boom ‘you want to try out for an audition?’ I was like sure. And then next thing you know I got a trainee program if you want to try that out too I was like oh sure. You know whatever comes to you take it right,” he said.
Podemski is hoping viewers can relate to the show through the narrative of reclaiming truth.
“I’m not sure if the word I would like people to walk away with is resilience but I think it’s reclaiming the truth from a story perspective. The journey of our character reclaiming her truth and then the journey we’re all here to experience which is reclaiming the truth of our own history and collective history,” she said.
Filming is expected to wrap up this summer and little bird is aimed for a release sometime in 2023.