When it finally comes time to dole out that last Oscar, the one for ‘Best Film,’ it is not the director that officially takes the cake – it’s the producer.
And even though the director runs up on stage to soak up the applause, and even though everyone at home is too drunk off cheap champagne, and everyone in the audience, too drunk off self-satisfaction, to really pay attention - it is, in the end, the producer, who receives the most coveted prize of them all. This is the perfect metaphor for the often underappreciated and tireless role that is the Film and Television Producer. And it is because of this, that we at NAICA are more than pleased to raise our glasses of cheap champagne to honor these hard-working people who make things happen.
Big Soul Productions was founded in 1999 by Laura J. Milliken and Jennifer Podemski. It was stitched together with talent, resourcefulness and lots of ingenuity – and kept alive with even more hard work. The production house was initially created to support Milliken and Podemski’s first collaboration, Seventh Generation, an aboriginal youth role model series created for the then newly-born, APTN. During the past eight years, the company has since expanded, with Milliken taking on the role as sole proprietor, to create new and innovative aboriginal programming in Canada. From the iconic Moccasin Flats series to aboriginal youth initiatives such Project One Generation and repREZentin’ (which spawned the original Moccasin Flats pilot) to music videos for George Leach and Tamara Podemski, the team at Big Soul Productions has continued to prove the age-old saying that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Not to mention their work with aboriginal youth has produced, bar none, some of the best and most inspiring youth programming to come out of Canada in quite a while. On the docket for production in the near future: a Moccasin Flats movie of the week, numerous in-house dramas, children’s and comedy series, and an animated comedy series entitled By the Rapids which will be produced in the Mohawk language and is sure to rival even The Simpsons. Good things from Big Soul Productions and surely just a taste of more good things to come.
I had the privilege to talk with Laura J. Milliken along with two of her teammates, Judson Pooyak-Tsinigine and James Kinistino about their roles at Big Soul, their dreams for the future, and if indeed the myth that all Canadians are nice is really true.