Charlene Moore — Director/Producer
When Andrew asked me to direct Moccasin Stories I was immediately interested and ready to start working. I was finishing up my studies at University and had not learned very much about moccasins. This was an area of research that was new to me, and I was eager to learn what I could.
As a Cree, Saulteaux, and Welsh, woman born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I grew up with many questions about my heritage that were often left unanswered. This project gave me the opportunity to explore a current fashion trend/handcrafted piece of Indigenous material culture that was something my ancestors would have made and worn. I took it as an opportunity to talk with elders and learn about why moccasins were important and what teachings they might hold.
This project has grown into a film that delves into the resilience of Indigenous women and the resurgence of Indigenous culture. The skill of moccasin making has been threatened by colonization and forced assimilation. Furthermore, residential schooling and suburbanization has increased the urban Indigenous population. All these things has caused much fragmentation and shame. I am a result of these things and like so many others I have felt disconnected to my culture. However, just like so many others, I have made the choice to reconnect and learn so that I might be able to pass on this knowledge to future generations.
Moccasin Stories is my way of educating Manitoba on the reason for loss of this skillful craft, how this skill is coming back, and how resourceful, skillful, strong, and powerful Indigenous women are. Additionally, I hope the film can be used as a way for Indigenous youth to learn about the positive aspects that can come with learning a craft.
Andrew George — Producer
I find the resurgence of Aboriginal culture in society impressive — it’s clearly much better now in comparison to when I was a child and I think the TRC, Idle No More, and other significant events in the last decade or so has brought First Nation issues to the spotlight. A focus on education has also helped, especially with the youth. By no means is anything perfect, but we’re starting to see signs of progress in terms of providing avenues for Aboriginal youth and adults alike to access their history and culture.
I’m a non-status Indian from Fort Frances, Ontario. Family on my father’s side are band members at Couching First Nation and although I didn’t spend much time in the community as a youth, I began to get involved as an adult. I’ve been involved in First Nation politics, education, along with producing films exploring Indigenous issues in Canada.
I inadvertently stumbled across the topic of moccasins in 2015. I know and I’ve been told that moccasins were important to Aboriginal culture in Canada, but I wasn’t quite sure why. I started to do a little bit of investigating and realized that a lot of people weren’t exactly sure what made moccasins or mukluks so significant to Aboriginal culture.
I eventually reached out to Charlene. With a BA in both Indigenous Studies and Film, I thought she’d be a perfect person to go out and find some answers.
Moccasins and Mukluks are a great representation of Aboriginal people and culture. It demonstrates their resilience, their ability to survive off the land. Aboriginals have not only been able to endure the harsh climate in Canada, they’ve been able to thrive in it. The fact that the craft of moccasin making has endured colonization to become a fixture in Aboriginal culture and in fashion globally is truly remarkable.
Moccasin Stories tackles this subjects and shows how moccasins and mukluks play an important role in contemporary Aboriginal culture.
With countless corporate and promotional videos to his credit, Andrew has also produced and directed the short film The Show: Loser Pissed, the award winning A Good Indian, and most recently the documentary Why We Play, which is currently available on video-on-demand through MTS in Manitoba. Most recently Andrew produced and directed promotional videos for the Town of Fort Frances’ re-branding initiative as well as focusing his attention on working with youth through digital storytelling.
Moccasin Stories is Andrew’s first effort as solely producer. “When I came across this project, I immediately thought that Charlene would be an excellent person to direct it. With the ability to focus more on the production side, I’m confident this might be the best project I’ve worked on to date.”
For more information on Andrew, visit his website at andrewjoegeorge.com
Cody Halcrow – Intern/jack-of-all-trades
Cody Halcrow is an 23 year old filmmaker with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He was raised in Cross Lake, Manitoba and attended the University of Winnipeg, working for an Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre & Film. Despite the many obstacles encountered, Cody still continues to move forward in his career, building his craft in writing and directing with only a few short films under his belt, including his latest short horror film Remains, Human. The film will be going its’ film festival run shortly, and aiming to be released online on December 2016. Being a student of the National Screen Institute’s New Voices program, and culturally sensitive filmmaking training program for Aboriginal people, Cody was placed with Moccasin Stories for his 6-week internship, and surely excited to be part of the crew. Cody is also an avid member of the Aboriginal Film Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Darcy Waite — Intern/SmoothTalkingPA
Darcy Waite is Metis from Edmonton, Alberta. Starting out as an actor in 2011, he began landing roles on local TV shows until 2014. He transferred from the University of Alberta’s Native Studies to take on acting full-time. From there, he discovered his passion for work behind the camera and pursued becoming a director alongside his acting career. After graduating his degree in April 2016, he was accepted into the National Screen Institute to learn more behind the camera. During this time he was partnered up with “Moccasin stories,” Producers Andrew George and Charlene Moore to help them bring their stories about the resilience of moccasins to life.