Rezolution Pictures International, a Cree production company co-owned by Ernest Webb of Chisasibi, is trying to become a part of television history. Their latest project, Moose TV, is set to take the Native world by storm and become a newer, hipper replacement for North of 60.
Webb says the project has been a long time coming. The idea was hatched when talking to his wife Catherine one day about two years ago. “We thought it would be a good idea to try a Native comedy. As much as North of 60 broke new ground, there just wasn’t any comedy in it,” he said.
“For us it’s been a totally humbling experience. One of the actors said that Moose TV was one of their best acting experiences.”
Moose TV beams into your home directly from the fictitious town of Moose. The first episode develops the characters well and sets the scene for the future of Moose TV. In it, Clifford (played by Nathaniel Arcand) and George (played by Adam Beach) are two locals with lofty dreams, but little ambition to back them up. Then one day they come up with a plan to reopen the local TV station.
Numerous auditions from potential local acts later, Moose TV is born!
The production was shot by a Montreal film crew on the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve from June 28-July 1.
Ed Macdonald is Moose TVs writer and director. He has written and won awards for This Hour has 22 Minutes, and Made in Canada. This marks his directorial debut.
Macdonald has high hopes for the series. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had. I really liked working with the actors; they’ve all done a lot of TV and are very experienced. I loved every minute of it,” he said.
Nathanial Arcand is best known for William MacNeil, his troublesome character in North of 60. Arcand explained his character in Moose TV to the Nation: “Clifford is the handyman, he can pretty much fix anything and in the show, he sets up all the lighting, he does all the camera work, he sets up the stage, he does all. Clifford’s a good guy, he’s pretty carefree and laidback, but he doesn’t mind that his friend George takes him into these crazy situations sometimes.”
Adam Beach is a veteran actor who has appeared in such movies as Smoke Signals and Dance me Outside. His most famous role was when he co-starred with Nicolas Cage as a Navajo marine in Windtalkers.
The production also dipped into the Kahnawake market for one of their lead actors. Michael Sky plays Jerry, the Mayor of Moose. In the show, he is constantly fighting with George and the two almost come to blows when Jerry wants his own show but George refuses.
Usually specializing in documentaries, Rezolution Pictures is quickly expanding into the realm of fiction. Moose TV is one of a number of projects being pitched to networks such as CBC, APTN and the Documentary Channel.
Ernest Webb said that the key to that transition has been humour. “Native people love to laugh. We’re the biggest jokers around, but you don’t get to see that in the movies or on TV because they’re all so stoic,” he said. “When there are family gatherings up north, there is no shortage of laughter.”
Webb hopes Moose TV will go a long way towards debunking our sour misrepresentation with non-natives.
Watch for Moose TV on CBC August 6 at 7 pm!