Mushkeg Media Inc., established in 1999, is an Aboriginal production company specializing in films and videos about the Native experience, films that deal with contemporary issues facing Canada's First Nations, their environment, activities, traditions and their struggle for economic and political autonomy. The company is headed by Paul M. Rickard, independent Cree filmmaker and cameraman. Paul’s partner is veteran producer and director George Hargrave. Paul and George have frequently worked together for over 15 years. Mushkeg Media was a natural extension of this long time collaboration.
Finding Our Talk: A Journey into Aboriginal Languages was Mushkeg Media’s first independent documentary series. 26 episodes were produced. The third season of the series debuts on APTN in April 2009. Finding Our Talk 3 is an exciting new series of 13 half hour documentaries about the state of aboriginal languages both within Canada and the broader indigenous world, including episodes shot in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Latin and South America.
Our two most recent productions: Kanien’keha:ka - Living The Language, a two part doc about a Mohawk language immersion program in Akwesasne, and Little Caughnawaga: To Brooklyn and Back, a documentary portrait of the women behind the legendary Mohawk steelworkers of Kahnawake, produced in association with APTN, PBS and the NFB are screening at various festivals.
Mushkeg Media Inc. has a strong commitment in working with Aboriginal writers, directors and technical personnel and has developed positive relationships and a good reputation with many First Nations communities across Canada and into the United States. We have also trained many up-and-coming First Nations directors, writers, editors, new media specialists, public relations personnel and production crews.
Mushkeg Media's president Paul M. Rickard is an Omuskego Cree from Moose Factory in Northern Ontario. He has worked 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.
In 1994, he went south to Montreal to train as a camera operator with the National Film Board of Canada. In this capacity, Paul did cinematography on several NFB documentary films for broadcast including Multiple Choices (Alison Burns) and First Nation Blue (Dan Prouty). He worked on a number of other independent productions and in 1996 was producer/director of the CBC North TV series Maamuitau.
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.
In 1997, 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. In 1999, he directed and co-produced Finding My Talk, a pilot for the 13 part series; Finding Our Talk, on APTN, now in its third season.
George Hargrave has been an independent producer and director for over 20 years. He has worked extensively throughout the Arctic and lived in Cambridge Bay and Baker Lake in the NWT. He has a masters degree in communications from Concordia University. He went to the North Pole in 1987 as co-director and co-producer of North to Nowhere: Quest for the Pole, a documentary film about 5 Arctic expeditions to the Pole. This film won 3 Gemini Awards and has been seen by audiences around the world.
In 1994, George produced Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation, a co-production with the NFB. In 1995, George produced Invasion of the Beer People, a documentary about a heavy metal rock concert in Tuktoyuktuk, NWT - directed by Albert Nerenberg and broadcast on CBC Newsworld in January 1996. The same year, he produced The Disappearing Forests of Eeyou Astchee, a 46-minute documentary about forestry and the Cree of Northern Quebec, produced for the Grand Council of the Cree of Quebec.
George co-directed and produced Welcome to Nunavut (1999), a documentary about Canada's newest Territory for CBC Newsworld, broadcast in October, 1999. Along with Paul Rickard and Janice Benthin, he produces Finding Our Talk currently running its third season on APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and SCN.