APTN to premiere three-part doc challenging Indigenous stereotypes

APTN is set to premiere its three-part documentary series First Contact, Sept. 11-13, aimed at challenging the average Canadian’s stereotypical perceptions of Indigenous people.

Narrated by George Stroumboulopoulos, the series takes six Canadians on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous Canada.

Visiting Indigenous communities in Winnipeg, Nunavut, Alberta, Northern Ontario and the BC coast, the six participants include former Big Brother Canada Season 4/5 contender Dallas Cormier, 26, a lobster fisherman and welder from Saint John, NB; Ashley Mathieu, 32, a personal trainer from Ottawa; Avonlea Collins, 28, a stay-at-home mom from Chilliwack, BC; Donald Wright, 65, a retired truck driver from Ardrossan, AB; Ross Jackson, 50, an accountant from Edmonton; and Jamie-Sue Sykes, 36, a country girl from Ingersoll, ON, who works in auto manufacturing.

The three-part series will air consecutively Sept. 11-13 at 7 p.m. ET, with the second and third episodes followed by a two-part reunion special. The special will feature three Indigenous hosts that appear in the series: James Favel, co-founder of the North End Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol; Michael Redhead Champagne, award-winning community organizer and Shamattawa Cree Nation member; and Bernadette Smith, Manitoba MLA for Point Douglas and assistant director of the Wayfinders Program in the Seven Oaks School Division.

They’ll 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.

Following the Thursday evening series finale, First Contact’s six participants will appear 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. “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.”

First Contact was produced by Vanessa Loewen and Desiree Single for Animiki, Jeff Newman and Jocelyn Mitchell for Nüman Films, and Stephanie Scott for Indios Productions, with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. The series was written and directed by Jeff Newman.