The team making Monkey Beach is led by award-winning Cree filmmaker L. Sarah Todd. Ms. Todd’s work has appeared at the Sundance Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is joined by Richard Van Camp (The Lesser Blessed) as Executive Producer. And she has brought together an outstanding team to help realize her vision for this remarkable story: Greg Middleton, her cinematographer, is one Canada’s top DOPs. Julian Clarke, her editor, received an Academy award nomination for Best Editing for District 9. Writers, Johnny Darrell and Andrew Duncan, bring unique experience ranging from MTV Award shows to award-winning animated series. Fred Fuchs, (Dracula, Godfather III, Virgin Suicides) has joined the team, providing expert advice. Tom Rowe (Continuum, Dark Universe) brings 25 years of experience to the role as consulting producer
The Creative Team
DIRECTOR | PRODUCER | WRITER
Loretta Sarah Todd
L. S. Todd is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker known for powerful, visual storytelling. Her films have screened at the Sundance Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco),Yamagata Film Festival, ImagineNative, and the Museum of Modern Art - to name a few. She’s received many prestigious honours and awards, including a Rockefeller Fellowship to New York University, attendance at the Sundance Scriptwriter’s Lab, Special Jury Citation (TIFF) and Mayor's Award for Media Arts (City of Vancouver). In demand as a writer and lecturer, Ms. Todd has spoken at the United Nations, MOMA, and at Global Perspectives and Cultural Hybridity (2005 Venice Biennalle). Ms. Todd is also a successful producer of children’s programming for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN – Canada). She also recently created Skye and Chang, a sci-fi martial arts drama series, premiering the pilot on APTN, which also won the Best Short Drama Award at the 38th American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. She recently created Coyote's Crazy Smart Science Show - a children's series about Indigenous science, to be broadcast on APTN.
Like Eden Robinson, Ms. Todd is an original. She left home as a young teenager, yet still managed to become am artist, writer, activist, entrepreneur and an award-winning filmmaker. Moreover, both Todd and Robinson are instigators of fusion Indigenous cultural expression. Ms. Todd is a devotee of world cinema, sci-fi, obscure music, elegant fashion, forests, gardens, Paris, and is often heard to say “Lighting is everything”. She is also knowledgeable about her culture – creating and producing an award-winning children’s series that teaches kids to speak Cree, her father’s first language, as well as creating the first Cree language learning app.
RIchard Van Camp
Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada. He is a graduate of the En'owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria's Creative Writing BFA Program, and has a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.
He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, was produced with First Generation Films and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He's authored four collections of short stories: Angel Wing Splash Pattern, The Moon of Letting Go, Godless but Loyal to Heaven, and Night Moves, as well as two children’s books with Cree artist, George Littlechild: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?
Richard's comic book on deterring youth from gangs, Path of the Warrior, with Cree artist, Steve Sanderson and another on sexual health, Kiss Me Deadly, with Haida artist Chris Auchter, are available through the Healthy Aboriginal Network.
Richard was both writer and script consultant for CBC's North of 60 series. He taught creative writing at UBC, Emily Carr Institute and the University of Alberta.
Richard has five new books out: “Three Feathers”, a graphic novel on restorative justice with artist Krystal Mateus, “Whistle” a mini-novel exploring mental health, his new short story collection, "The Blue Raven", a graphic novel with Steve Sanderson, “Night Moves”, as well as a new graphic novel, "A Blanket of Butterflies" with Portage and Main, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson.
Visit Richard on Facebook, Twitter and at www.richardvancamp.com
Fred Fuchs is currently an independent Executive Producer based in Toronto. His most recent projects are CAMELOT; a 10 1 hour episode Canadian/Irish treaty co production for Starz Entertainment/CBC/GK Films and THE TRANSPORTER; a 12 1 hour episode Canadian/French treaty co production for HBO LA/HBO Canada/RTL/M6.
Previous to working with Take 5 Productions Fuchs was Executive Director of Arts and Entertainment at the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, for 4 years. Fuchs began his career as a producer of prestige film and television projects with award-winning television series like FAERIE TALE THEATRE for SHOWTIME and VIETNAM WAR STORIES for HBO. Fuchs then segued into the feature film industry producing TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and executive produced by George Lucas.
For 12 years Fuchs was President of American Zoetrope Studios and was Executive Producer of many features including THE GODFATHER PART III, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, THE SECRET GARDEN, DON JUAN DEMARCO, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, and JOHN GRISHAM’S THE RAINMAKER. While at Zoetrope Fuchs also started a TV division and was Executive Producer for internationally successful mini series THE ODYSSEY, MOBY DICK, KIDNAPPED
Tom Rowe is a principal in the successful company Reunion Pictures in Vancouver. In 1989 he founded Pacific Motion Pictures with Matthew O'Connor. Over the next 10 years they produced 80 Movies for Television and several features, including Canada's best selling video title, Magic In The Water. The company received a George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence In Television for The Baby Dance. In 1997 Tom received an Emmy nomination for Best Mini-Series for producing Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Reunion has produced everything from Masters of Horror and Flash Gordon, to Dreamkeeper (Hallmark/ABC) and Tinman with the Sci-Fi channel. He is the Executive Producer of the successful series Continuum.
“I was born on the same day as Edgar Allan Poe and Dolly Parton: January 19. I am absolutely certain that this affects my writing in some way.” Robinson grew up with her older brother and younger sister (CBC-TV anchor Carla Robinson) in Haisla territory, Kitamaat Village, surrounded by the forests and mountains of the central coast of British Columbia. They were children of a mixed marriage–her Haisla father met her Heiltsuk mother during a stop in Bella Bella in his fishing days. Kitamaat, a Tsimshian word meaning “people of the falling snow,” is home to seven hundred members of the Haisla nation, with another eight hundred or so living off-reserve.
After earning her B.A., Eden Robinson moved to Vancouver to look for work that would allow her to spend time writing. A late-night writer, she ended up taking “a lot of McJobs” –janitor, mail clerk, napkin ironer. She entered the masters program at the University of British Columbia after having a short story published in its literary magazine, PRISM international. Her first book, Traplines, was a collection of dark and brutal stories told with deadpan, gritty humour. Eden holed herself up in her Vancouver apartment to write Monkey Beach, a compelling and complex first novel. The Washington Post called it “artfully constructed,” the National Post deemed it “intricately patterned.” Critics in the US, the UK and Canada were unanimous in appreciating the book. Eden Robinson has become one of Canada’s first female Native writers to gain international attention, making her an important role model.
Monkey Beach evinces a love of her culture – Robinson maintains that if you don’t grow up on Oolichan grease, you’re not going to learn to love it, never mind make it; and if you grow up on supermarket vegetables, you’re not going to learn when and where to find salmonberry shoots. (adapted from Mcclelland and Co. Spotlight on Authors)
Carla Robinson grew up in Bella Bella and Kitamaat, both small First Nations reserves on the rugged northwest coast of British Columbia. Robinson completed her Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and quickly began a 15 year long career in television broadcasting, working as a news reporter for BCTV in Vancouver and then as a reporter, producer, and national news anchor with CBC Television in Toronto.
In the past three years, in addition to starting her own production company, Robinson has been designing and holding energy saving workshops with her husband Drew Hill’s environmental consulting company, The Abor Group. Together with another company based in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, they have delivered energy efficient upgrades to over 3,600 low income homes in 44 First Nation communities through the Aboriginal Conservation Program, an Independent Electricity System Operator saveONenergy initiative.
WITH LORETTA TODD - CO-SCRIPT WRITERS
Johnny Darrell & Andrew Duncan
Johnny and Andrew are multiple award-winning visual story-tellers with over 90 hours of episodic television under their belts as Show Runners and Directors. Working with hundreds of scripts written by hundreds of writers, the two have learned a thing or two about fine-tuning and crafting a story. As well, Johnny Darrell brings Sami roots to the processs and both writers share family connections with Indigenous culture.
"Working from Eden's incredible novel with its complex weaving of time and non-linear narrative was an immense and rewarding challenge. Our first goal was to maintain the poetic nature of Eden's structure as well as incorporate the almost non sequitur "beating heart" vignettes that pop up throughout the story.
The book's flow is intricately and beautifully tangled as Lisa jumps from memory to memory, and to try and mimic that in a film can be tricky and leave the audience confused and disoriented. Our second goal was to try to maintain that jumping around in time yet keep our heroine's goal and present timeline structured and clear.
Death blankets this story and our heroine finds herself trapped by a mystical gift she considers a curse, so our third and most important goal was to alleviate what essentially is a tragedy. Thankfully, Eden's work provided for us an abundance of humour and love that radiate brilliantly throughout this darkness. It was an honour to lend our vision to Eden's masterpiece."