Three native artists use voice, rhythms, samples and guitar riffs to cut through big ‘P’ politics to reveal a vibrant native music scene while exposing the realities and struggles in their communities. As resistance grows across Indian country, this film about music, art and politics pulls aboriginal stories from the back pages and puts them squarely at the front of the stage.Directed by Michelle Smith and Paul Rickards, determiNATION songs interweaves the stories of three talented native singer/songwriters - Samian, Cheri Maracle and CerAmony – through the artists' creative process, inspiration, commitment and involvement with the resistance movements in their communities.Their work is a powerful source of strength, cultural renewal and political awareness for members of their community. For the broader public, these artists move people to become more aware of the concerns facing First Nations peoples today while challenging their own perceptions of what it means to be Native.
DIRECTOR BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:
Paul M. Rickard ________________________________________________Paul M. Rickard is an Omuskego Cree from Moose Factory in Northern Ontario. For the past ten years, he has been working as a producer, director and cameraman in collaboration with independent production companies and organizations such as Nutaaq Media Inc., Wildheart Productions, Wawatay, CBC North and the National Film Board of Canada. Now Paul is venturing into the area of independent production.Paul studied radio and television production at the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism before joining Wawatay Native Communications Society as a television producer. At Wawatay, he shot, edited and produced a bi-weekly public affairs television show for 4 years, as well as a weekly youth program, Video Awashishak.In 1994, he went south to Montreal to train as a camera operator with the National Film Board of Canada. In this capacity, Rickard did cinematography on several NFB documentary films for broadcast, including Multiple Choices (Alison Burns), First Nation Blue (Dan Prouty), Fennario: His World on Stage (Alex McLeod) and No Turning Back. He worked on a number of other independent productions, and in 1996-96 was producer/director of the CBC North TV series Maamuitauui.In 1996, he wrote, shot and directed his first film, entitled Ayouwin: A Way of Life. This documentary about Rickard's father, a trapper in Moose Factory, Ontario, was produced by Wildheart Productions for broadcast on the TV Ontario Aboriginal series. That same year, he directed Okimah at the National Film Board. This film focuses on the knowledge handed down by Cree hunting leaders, the okimah, and stresses the importance of the annual goose hunt to the survival of traditional Cree culture. Released in 35 mm, it premiered at the Vancouver Film Festival in 1998. That same year, the film went on to win the Best of the Fest award at the Yellowknife Far North Film Festival.Okimah was broadcast on VISION TV in January 1999 and also recently screened at the Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois in Montreal. In1999, he directed and co-produced Finding My Talk: A Journey into Aborginal Languages, the pilot for the 13 part series entitled; Finding Our Talk, for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The second season of FOT began in January 2003 on APTN with a second window on SCN beginning in June 2004.In 2004, Paul was one of the executive producers for From Cherry English, a short dramatic film directed by Jeffrey Barnaby and produced by Nutaaq Media Inc. for CBC Zed. He recently completed his first feature length documentary Aboriginal Architecture – Living Architecture, a co-production between his company Mushkeg Productions and the National Film Board of Canada. In 2005, Paul wrote, directed and produced his first dramatic short film entitled The Winter Chill based on a traditional Cree story told by his father. The film stars Aboriginal actors, Dakota House and Glen Gould, and made its world premiere at the 2005 ImagineNative + Media Arts Festival in Toronto this fall. As well it was nominated as Best Live Short at the 2006 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Paul also produced and co-directed with Tracey Deer Kanien'keha:ka - Living the Language about the Mohawk language immersion program at the Akwesasne Freedom School. Paul is currently working on the documentary series Finding Our Talk 3 about the state of indigenous languages around the world for APTN and Maori TV in New Zealand.Paul currently runs the Weeneebeg Aboriginal Film & Video Festival in Moose Factory as Executive Director. The festival began in 2003 as a community based event to promote media arts and filmmaking as a viable career to young people though various screenings and workshops presented at the festival.FILMOGRAPHYPaul M. Rickard2009 June Producer
“Finding Our Talk 3”
Mushkeg Media (FOT3) Inc.
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and George Hargrave2009 May Director
“Languages Under Attack”
Finding Our Talk 3 Documentary Series
Mushkeg Media (FOT3) Inc.
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and George Hargrave2008 July Producer
“Little Caughnawaga: From Brooklyn and Back”
Mushkeg Media Inc. and National Film Board of Canada
Producers: Paul M. Rickard, George Hargrave, Kat Baulu and Germain Wong
2008 June Director
“Kanien’keha:ka – Living the Language”
Feature Length Documentary
Co-directed with Tracey Deer
Mushkeg Productions Inc. in association APTN
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and George Hargrave2005 October Director
“Aboriginal Architecture - Living Architecture”
Feature Length Documentary
Mushkeg Media Inc. in association with National Film Board of Canada/APTN and SCN
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and George HargraveApril 2005 Director
"The Winter Chill"
Second Draft - Short Drama
Achimist Film Inc.
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and Daniele Rohrbach2000 - 2002 Director
“Finding Our Talk - Season One and Two”
Documentary Series (26X45 mins)
Mushkeg Media Inc.
Producers: Paul M. Rickard and George Hargrave1999 Aug - 2000 March Director
"Finding My Talk: A Journey into Aboriginal Languages"
Achimist Film Inc./Nutaaq Media Inc.
Producers: Paul M. Rickard, George Hargrave
1999 June - August Director
Wawatay Native Communications Society1997 Sept - 1998 June Director
National Film Board of Canada
Producer: Germaine Wong1996 March Director
“Ayouwin: A Way of Life”
Achimist Films and Wild Heart Productions
Director: Paul M. RickardMICHELLE SMITH has been producing and directing films since 1995. She has a particular interest in social, political and historical issues especially in relation to Aboriginal experience, cultural identity and intercultural relations. She has just completed three short docs for Mushkeg Media’s Aboriginal language series, Finding Our Talk. She has directed feature length docs (Turbulent Waters), docs for series (Bizart, 109, Culture Shock) and most recently the experimental doc Buried Traces exploring her Métis ancestry. She has produced several films with Productions Multi-Monde, including the animation,The Stray Dog (Le chien errant); documentaries Bledi: Notre pays est ici, When Strangers Reunite and A Time of Love and War (Lettres d’amour et de guerre). Her research experience includes both documentary series (Mother Tongue) and one-offs (Okanagan Dreams, Reel Injun). She has taught a number of workshops and classes on documentary filmmaking and has recently worked with Métis youth in Winnipeg to produce short videos looking at Métis identity and media representation. She is in the process of filming in Métis communities across Canada for an interactive DVD about Maternal and Child Health for the Métis Centre of the National Aboriginal Health Organization.Michelle Smith :2009 : DetermiNATION Songs, Co-director, APTN
2009 : Healthy Beginnings, Strong Community, Better Future, Director, Videographer, Métis Centre of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO)
2008-2009 : Finding Our Talk : Ktunaxa, Maori and Chitimacha, APTN
2008 : Métis Youth Videos, Director, Facilitator, Editor, Métis Culture and Heritage Resource Centre and Concordia University
2008 : Buried Traces, Director
2006-2007, 109, Director, Radio-Canada and RDI
Canadian Association of Broadcasters – Gold Ribbon 2006
2006 : Bledi, mon pays est ici (This is Our Home), Executive Producer, Télé-Québec
2004 : Turbulent Waters, Co-director, Researcher, Télé-Québec and NFB
2003 : Mother Tongue, Researcher, Canadian Learning Television and SCN
2002 : Bizart, Director, ARTV
2002 : Musiques rebelles Québec, Director, Second Unit, Télé-Québec
1998-2002 : Culture Shock/Culture Choc, Director/Videojournalist, CBC, Radio-Canada
Prix galaxie – Meilleur programme culturelle 1999, 2000, 2001
Prix gémeau – Meilleur programme culturelle 2001
2000 : A Time of Love and War, Producer, WTN
2000 : Elections en coulisse, Co-director, RDI
1999 : When Strangers Reunite, Producer, Vision TV, WTN, Knowledge Network, SCN, ONF
1999 : Okanagan Dreams, Researcher, NFB
1997 : Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves, Co-scriptwriter, Assistant Director, CBC
Canadian Association of Journalists – Best documentary
1997 : The Stray Dog, Producer
1997 : The Beat of a Thousand Drums, Director
1997: The Suit War, Production Coordinator, CBC