Cast & Crew // Ka apatasichik
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Asivak Abraham Koostachin
Born in Ottawa in 1994, Asivak Abraham Koostachin is the eldest of three younger brothers and is currently traveling abroad. He is of mixed ancestry, Cree from Attawapiskat First Nation and Inuk from Inuvik, North West Territories.
He attended Rosedale Heights School of the Arts in Toronto and was on the honour role for his academic achievements. He studied guitar, drama, and the technical side of theater and film production. In grade eight he booked his first national unionized commercial with Health Canada, which continues to broadcast.
Asivak was also one of the youngest of the (12) twelve National Aboriginal Role Models of Canada, with the National Aboriginal Health Organization for 2009/10. He visited Indigenous communities all over Canada inspiring youth to succeed in attaining their dreams.
In 2008, Asivak wrote an original screenplay entitled Morning Rush, which later won the Peter Gerretsen Award for Best Screenplay at Ryerson University. The broadcast rights of his film were purchased by Moviola Distributions. He enjoys writing and hopes to continue writing for film and television in the future. More recently Asivak was selected to venture with Canada World Youth where he visited Vietnam and northern British Columbia for six months. After his travels he won a scholarship to study with OUR Ecovillage in Victoria, BC.
He achieved level (3) three Cree, where he worked toward learning one of his Native languages. He strives to work within communities using media as his tool to empower Indigenous peoples economically, socially and politically by bringing important issues to the forefront from an Indigenous perspective.
Mahiigan Neel Koostachin
Born in Toronto in 1996, Mahiigan Neel Koostachin is the middle child of three brothers and currently lives in Toronto. He is of mixed ancestry, Cree from Attawapiskat First Nation and Ojibway from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island.
Mahiigan currently attends Rosedale School of the Arts where he studies drama, media and music. He has a range of interests from music, acting and sports. In grade eight, he booked his first national unionized commercial with Health Canada, like his older brother.
Mahiigan studied guitar, piano and voice at the Ontario Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He also played three years with Toronto Wildcats football league, and participates on his school wrestling, and basketball teams.
In 2008, Mahiigan starred in the short film entitled Napaw Mahiiganish distributed by Ouat Media. In the summer of 2009, he worked as a trainee-production assistant, and sound designer, as well as the camera operator for the documentary feature film Remembering Inninimowin.
He also studied up to level (3) three in the Cree language, where he is worked toward learning one of his own native languages.
Mahiigan wants to continue working in the film and television industry as an actor, but also wants to explore other avenues like Indigenous law or medicine as a potential career.
Cassius Spears (Narragansett)
Cassius Spears has worked and volunteered as an educational consultant throughout New England including at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center and for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation as Cultural Educator and consultant.
In 2008 Cassius worked as the Cultural Advisor for the PBS American Experience documentary “We Shall Remain – After the Mayflower”, where he provided information and advice for a clear historical interpretation and depiction of 16th century New England Native life ways. Spears was instrumental in the building and design of the Pequot Village at Schemitzun, which was created to educate the public in Eastern Woodland culture. The preservation of culture and tradition has always been an integral part of Spears’ life.
He serves on a number of distinguished boards: the Plimouth Plantation’s Wampanoag Indigenous Program’s Advisory Board, New England Foundation for the Arts and Native Arts Advisory Committee. He has volunteered as a youth mentor and on cultural educational programs for the Narragansett tribe.
Cassius is both a traditional dancer and grass dancer having performed nationally and internationally with Foxwoods Dance Troupe, the One Nation Dance Troupe and for award winning Rap performer and film actor “Litefoot” at the first Native American Music Awards. He is also currently a member of the Eastern Woodland Dancers who attend the Biennial Bermuda Reconnection Festival each year.
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Jules Koostachin: Executive Producer/Writer/Director
Born in Moose Factory, Ontario, Jules Arita Koostachin was raised by her Cree speaking grandparents for part of her childhood in Moosonee, as well as her mother in Ottawa. Jules is from Attawapiskat First Nation, and is currently living in Sudbury with her family.In 2010, she completed her Masters in the Documentary Media Program at Ryerson University and while a student she was awarded the Award of Distinction for her thesis work, and the Ryerson University Gold Medal for academic achievement. Over the years, Jules has been working in several different capacities both in the arts and in the field of social work, her recent focus of work is using media as a tool of empowerment by shedding light on important Indigenous issues.
Laura J. Milliken: Executive Producer
Laura J. Milliken is an accomplished producer and entrepreneur and a member of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. She is President and CEO of Toronto-based Big Soul Productions and is co-creator and co-executive producer of the Gemini-nominated dramatic television series, Moccasin Flats. Since establishing Big Soul Productions over sixteen years ago, Laura has co-created, and produced numerous award-winning programs, including a debut feature film, Fire Song, 22 episodes of Moccasin Flats (Showcase/APTN), a Moccasin Flats television movie entitled Redemption, 20 episodes of the animated comedy series, By The Rapids (APTN), 39 episodes of The Seventh Generation (APTN), and numerous short films, television specials, documentaries, music videos, PSA’s and corporate videos.
Laura began producing television at the age of 26 when she worked as an Associate Producer for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. She has since garnered numerous acknowledgments and awards since then, including the 2007 CFTPA Mentor of the Year, 2003 Female Entrepreneur of the Year from the Southern First Nations Secretariat, Youth Entrepreneur of the Year from Miziwe Biik Employment and Training in 2004, the Toronto 1 Executive Mentorship Award from Women in Film and Television in 2004, the Ross Charles Award in 2001 to attend the Aboriginal Screenwriters Workshop at the Banff Centre and two Sundance Producers Fellowships to attend the 2002 and 2004 Sundance Independent Producers Conference at the Sundance Institute.
PJ Thornton: Producer
PJ Thornton is an accomplished producer and production manager who has worked with Big Soul Productions since 2003. After studying English at McGill University, he transferred into the Mel Hoppenhiem School of Cinema at Concordia University to specialize in Film Production and Film Studies.Upon graduation, he began producing music videos with Blink Pictures and has since gone on to produce and manage a variety of productions for Paperny Films, Big Soul Productions and Indspire (previously the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation).In 2009, PJ Thornton became VP of Production for Big Soul Productions and continues to produce, develop and manage various projects for the company.
James Kinistino: Director of Photography
James Kinistino is Saulteaux from Saskatchewan and has been with Big Soul Productions Inc. for over 15 years. One of the producers at BSP, he also serves as Vice-President and Director of Photography. Working closely on all creative aspects with various directors, writers, art directors, camera personnel and talent. James strives to ensure the best possible image and vision is realized on every project.James has shot his first debut feature film entitled Fire Song, over 25 episodes of a dramatic TV series, Moccasin Flats, numerous music videos, short films, a feature length Movie of the Week and various documentaries.
Jay Brant: Editor
Jay has been editing for many years, specifically with Big Soul Productions for the last five years. He is originally from Tyendinaga and is currently residing in the GTA working full-time with Big Soul.His knowledge, problem- solving skills and creativity give him a great advantage as a story-teller in the post-production phase.
Doug Bedard “Plex”: Composer
Plex is an award winning hip-hop artist based in Toronto, Canada. With over 15 years experience Plex has raised the bar amongst his Aboriginal peers while building a strong and relevant presence in mainstream Canadian Hip Hop.Since releasing his debut solo album in 2009, Plex has toured across North America and has also appeared on several televised events including Arbor Live, The National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, APTN Aboriginal Day Live, Cineplex’s Front Row Concert Series and The Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards.
Adrian Sutherland: Composer
Adrian’s lyrical explorations are of his First Nations’ identity. He hails from the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat and draws upon his experiences in his songs.
”Some of the music is about who I am and where I come from,” he explains. “I’ve always wanted to share some of my background and beliefs through the platform of music. Everybody has a story and I think it’s important for First Nations people to shed positive light on our culture and values.”
In addition to making contemporary rock music, Sutherland sings in a traditional drum group, takes part in ceremonies, and is a genuine example of someone who lives and pays homage to his culture. He cares about his people of the north, figuratively as well as literally, through his work as a paramedic, and his job as Chief Executive Officer for economic development in his community. He is proud of who he is, and where he comes from.
Adriana Fulop: Costume Designer
A professional costume and fashion designer Adriana Fulop was born in Slovakia, traveled the world and settled in Toronto, Canada.With over a decade of experience as a designer and wardrobe stylist, Adriana has styled many photo and video productions for fashion labels, musicians, television and movie producers, as well as; a variety of independent artists and events.Her client list includes Space Channel, APTN, Indspire awards, Big Soul Productions, Kaha:wi dance theater, Plastik Wrap fashions, among others.
Leslie McCue: Asst. Production Coordinator
Leslie McCue is a Mississauga, Ojibway from Curve Lake First Nation, currently living and working in Toronto. Leslie is an arts administrator, artist, performer, and educator who over the years has fought for Indigenous rights by breaking stereotypes and raising cultural awareness. Her work is driven by her past, passion to educate and the motivation to empower others.Leslie sits on the following Board of Directors: Indigenous Advisory Council at the Royal Ontario Museum, Indigenous Outreach VP and Co-Chair for Access Empowerment Council and Board Member for Red Pepper Spectacle Arts in Kensington Market.Leslie has been asked to perform and speak at many venues across North America and Europe, some highlights include: The Vancouver Winter Olympics Athletes Village and Pavillions (British Columbia), Museum of Civilization (Quebec), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Holland) and Juno Beach Museum (France).Leslie is full steam ahead with no end in sight.