August 15, 2018
Winnipeg, MB – APTN, in association with Animiki See Digital Productions, Nüman Films, and Indios Productions, announced today that it will premiere the documentary-series, FIRST CONTACT (3 X 60). A compelling exploration into indigenous culture in Canada, the three-part series is narrated by host and social justice activist George Stroumboulopoulos and takes six Canadians, all with strong opinions about Indigenous people, on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous Canada. It is a journey that will turn their lives upside down, challenging their perceptions and confronting their prejudices about a world they never imagined they would see. This exploration will change the participants’ lives forever.
Airing on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET, the series will continue with episode two on Wednesday, September 12 and episode three on Thursday, September 13. The second and third episodes will be followed by a two-part reunion special airing September 12 and 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Following the second episode on Wednesday, APTN will air the first of a two-part reunion special featuring three Indigenous hosts that appear in the series. James Favel (cofounder of the Bear Clan Patrol), Michael Redhead Champagne (award-winning community organizer, public speaker and Shamattawa Cree Nation member) and Bernadette Smith (MLA, Assistant Director of Wayfinders Program in the Seven Oaks School Division) will come together in front of a live Winnipeg audience to reflect on the journey of the six participants and share their goals on how all Canadians can help strengthen relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Part two of the dramatic reunion special airs after the finale on Thursday evening, and will see the six participants come together before a live studio audience, to reflect on their experience during and since their journey together.
“We are incredibly proud of all of the people who participated in this journey with us,” says Executive Producer Vanessa Loewen, Animiki See Digital Productions Inc. “It takes a lot of courage to immerse and expose oneself to an experience like this and we are blessed that the communities across Canada opened their doors to us. This raw and honest account will undoubtedly inspire empathy and awareness of Indigenous culture by Canadians coast-to-coast.”
The following six participants will leave their everyday lives behind to travel deep into Winnipeg, Nunavut, Alberta, Northern Ontario, and the coast of BC to visit Indigenous communities:
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
Occupation: Personal trainer
About: Ashley’s life has been a truly transformative journey. The daughter of a Canadian Royal Mounted Police Officer and a Portuguese immigrant mother, she was a shy little girl who got bullied throughout most of her childhood. Having been through many challenges and hard times, Ashley is an empathetic person who is interested in learning about other people before passing judgment. She is also a direct and outspoken person and believes every Canadian has a right to their own opinion and the right to express it.
Hometown: Chilliwack, BC
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
About: Avonlea has spent her life caring for others, from her brother to her young sons. Her big-heart and compassion are her defining qualities. Open to learning and changing, Avonlea dreams of living overseas one day and hopes her children get a chance to learn about other cultures in the world; something she never got to do. Avonlea considers herself open to new cultures, people and environments.
Hometown: Saint John, NB
Occupation: Lobster fisherman/welder
About: Outgoing and athletic from childhood, Dallas spent his adolescence playing sports and hanging out at the community centre with the same group of kids he is still friends with to this day. Dallas’ parents pushed him to be someone who cared about others and he does his best to help others however he can. His mom is his role model, as she always made sure he was able to participate in activities with friends, despite a limited household income.
Hometown: Ardrossan, AB
Occupation: Retired truck driver
About: Donald is proud to consider himself honest, with a strong work ethic and integrity. A self-proclaimed opinionated conservative, he considers that the freedom to live in a safe, clean place without war and suffering is the best thing about Canada. He’s not a fan of the current government’s focus on diversity, though he enjoys exploring the world with his wife of 18 years.
Hometown: Ingersoll, ON
Occupation: Team leader, auto manufacturing
About: Country-born and bred, Jamie-Sue loves big trucks and small-town Canada. She defies any stereotypes that go along with country life with her open-mindedness and compassionate nature. She wants to see the country do much more to help its most marginalized communities, like those suffering from addiction or mental health issues. She believes we are only as good as the way we treat those most in need.
Hometown: Edmonton, AB
About: Family man Ross has his roots firmly planted in Alberta, but has explored the world as well, first as a young child living in New Zealand with his family, and later as an officer in the Navy. A father of three, Ross has strong opinions and believes,that hard work and traditional Canadian values are the key to success. He expects anyone who has the opportunity to live in Canada to feel the same. First Contact is produced by Animiki See Digital Productions, Nüman Films, and Indios Productions, with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. Producers are Vanessa Loewen and Desiree Single for Animiki, Jeff Newman and Jocelyn Mitchell for Nüman Films, and Stephanie Scott for Indios Productions. Written and Directed by Jeff Newman.
Social Media Info:
APTN launched in 1999 as the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit, charitable broadcaster and the only one of its kind in North America. Sharing our stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of indigenous languages, to approximately 11 million Canadian TV subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audience through genuine, inspiring, and engaging entertainment through multiple platforms.
About Animiki See Digital Production
One of Canada`s leading producers of Indigenous content, Animiki See Digital Production has been creating original and captivating programs that reflect Indigenous People for over 10 years. Recent projects include the annual broadcast concert and celebration of Indigenous Day Live, one- hour dramatic pilot Wynter, and the documentary series “First Contact” based on the Australian series format. About Nüman Films Nüman Films is a Gemini Award winning Production Company that produces compelling, original, and entertaining documentary and lifestyle programming for the international and national marketplace. From the rock‘em sock’em rinks in Hockey Brawl (CTV) to the flooded plains of Manitoba in Treading Water (CBC/APTN), and the inner workings of a family in crisis in Being Greene (CBC), Nüman Films has built a reputation for delivering exceptional programming with engaging stories, captivating characters, and a unique perspective. Nüman Films is a full-service production company located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We have worked with a variety of partners and broadcasters including CTV, CBC, Discovery, National Geographic, Bravo!,CityTV, History, MTS, Slice, APTN and OLN.
About Indios Productions
Indios Productions Inc. is a 100% Indigenous owned production company. Stephanie Scott is Anishinabe who has over 15 years of experience working for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Film Board and W. She has produced over 100 hours of television including documentary series, a live talk show, national events and short films. Stephanie also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) where she helped manage the gathering of almost 7,000 digital audio and video recorded statements by former residential school survivors and others impacted by the schools. Stephanie is a proud grandmother, and mother.