A Fat Black Wolf Production…
Back in 2017 I was selected to participate in the Whistler Film Festival's (WFF) Aboriginal Filmmakers Fellowship. I had completed a script for a television series titled 'RISER'. It was an hour long drama about the life of Cree Filmmaker Olly King (I know, I'm lazy) who dreams of becoming one of "the greats" in the world of film.
Before I started out on the path that I am on now, adults would say to me "your so smart! What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I didn't have an answer. I didn't like anything they thought that I could do, I liked to argue but not enough to do it in a court of law, they thought I could heal... but I wasn't built for medicine. I knew I could tell a tale. I remembered when I would be asked to literally tell a story...
(Pictured Noelle S. & Kat M.) -Photo shot by Ariel S.
That was such a mind blowing concept to me, I remember when Mr. Thornton would say "Kenny... if you finish the work and there is time" (I'm assuming it was to shut me up but I knew exactly what this was- I knew about Jim Carrey, and his teacher, but I played dumb) "I'll let you stand up in front of the class and say whatever you want for the last 5 minutes." How TEMPTING was this? Well my pilot diverges from the life that I had and that little alternate version of me, he's the kind of person who would have said "hell yeah". Me? Well I was too shy, I never took him up on it. But Mr. Thornton and Mr. Sorstad? They probably have NO idea what had become of me.
Anyway, back to 2017, I was also invited to participate in the WFF's web series lab. It was not a requirement but they asked if I wanted to do it, the only thing was that they wanted a pitch from me, that's where this blog post stems from.
As I was saying I was going to Whistler to work on a television series I wrote. And I said earlier, I am LAZY! I had ideas in the past for webseries' but I wanted to make something new... at the time I was still not the social butterfly I've grown into. Now if you see me at a function, I take up space. I like to be removed from everything. That first night at the festival George Stomboulopoulis waved at me and I ignored him (nerves). By the end of it I was sitting around with Bill Pullman shootin' the shit. I learned fast you gotta make moves or else your gonna get left behind. So that first night the opening gala I still had nothing but I was toying with the idea of doing what I called a 'reverse Larry David'... more backstory.
Larry David is the cocreator of Seinfeld with one Jerry Seinfeld. He has a show on HBO called 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' which is delightfully insane and unhinged. He went from creating one of the most successful television series of ALL. TIME. To making a Curb, it's craaaazy, and funny, and popular, and messed up. So anyway I though to myself what if I take a fictionalized verion of the fictionalized version of myself and make a show about HIM? Confused? That tracks, my mind has always been chaos. I'm working through it, this helps. So that second day of the festival I got up bright and early and haphazardly put together a web series idea titled "FATF*CK or The Taming of the Fat Black Wolf: the Ballad of Korvan Littlefeather" (I LOVE Birdman! And long titles).
-Promotional art for the first iteration of 'FATF*CK'
The story follows Korvan Littlefeather (who echoes an even further version of Olly King, the central character of Riser, who is written and created by me. About my life but fictionalized) I know it's a lot.
Korvan is a 38 year old former child-actor turned show-runner (like a television series director) who is coworkers with Nick, a 20-something up-and-coming writer on the same show as Korvan at the time of their meeting. Nick has no idea who Korvan is except for a character in a popular kids movie from the 90's. At the time of the series' beginning, Korvan has successfully pitched a show titled "High-Rez" but Korvan parlays his green light to a meeting with the head of the new network Korvan is working for. Korvan HATES executives, and execs hate Korvan. In this universe Korvan has yet to be "me too'd". Korvan has fell off the rails in the time since being a successful actor. The cute kid who played Petey the Pirate is a drug addicted, alcoholic who abuses his power at every chance he gets. Korvan can charm a dictator of a homophobic country into admitting his secret homosexual tendencies and start an uprising and get any a-list actor he wants on his little shitty show. Nick sees the value in having Korvan in his corner but the network execs don't see it that way. Korvan is a liability, he's usurped power for too long, but goddamn it, he gets the job done. He makes things happen. We open with Korvan in a heated argument with the network executives about having him run the show and star in it.
Korvan's pygmalion-esk journey of becoming the person who looks and behaves the part is one Nick doesn't know is possible. The lengths the pair go through to get what they want as we uncover layer after layer of Korvan's mental state was originally the idea for the story I wanted to tell.
Whistler was very beneficial for me, I got feedback from industry professionals and I made a whole new project. The outcome was that I got some knowledge and got to go to Canada's coolest film festival. The year that followed was pretty cool, I was working for the City of Winnipeg. I worked on a tv show, some movies, and at the end of the following year I along with my producer Charlene Moore were also selected to bring FATF*CK to ImagineNative to a pitch competition. We needed to make a pitch kit and decided to take some photographs.
'Charlene Moore x ODMK' -Photo credit: Jesse Spence Photography
We managed to make a sizzle reel featuring Adam Beach and had a very ambitious concept. We went to ImagineNative and pitched the project and that was an amazing experience. Charlene and I were sure we were going to win. We spent the week talking with industry professionals and honing our package to be this amazing 5 minute spiel about the show and what we wanted to do. Hell we had the entire first season written... it was all coming together!
'Olly and Charlene pitching at ImagineNative 2018' -Photography by ImagineNative
I couldn't believe I was at the TIFF Bell Lightbox strategizing and getting to attend this festival. Standing up there and speaking, going to cool parties, meeting our heroes, being one of the cool kids... oh and we broke onto the set of Star Trek: Discovery and I cried. Things were looking up. And then we lost! To our good friends Adeline and Ryan with their project 'IndigiThreads'. We were told we couldn't do something we planned on doing and it ended up being possible and they did it... (the winner of the pitch was to get a 20k broadcast license and we talked about combining that with a 200k but when we asked about it we were told "no, you can't do that" so we were fine with letting the prize go to someone else) in the end I was very happy with the experience.
We got a free trip to Toronto, we created this vast universe, created a production company, we planned out more of what we wanted to do and had this cool week of experiences. Oh and I made this for like $50 and it had a famous person in it.
[VIMEO LINK] https://vimeo.com/294856008 [one minute video, Rated; Mature for language]
-Promotional poster for 'FATF*CK'
As I was saying before, our journey led us to having a production company, that company 'Fat Black Wolf Productions' has been hard at work. Early in 2022 I was asked by my friend Rhayne to co-write a feature film. Before this I was not doing a whole lot, I was back in Saskatchewan and working at a hotel. At the time of this post being published I am still working at a hotel but I put in my 2 weeks notice and told my landlord I'm leaving this province and heading back to Winnipeg. I came back to focus on my family and be around for my father but at 72 his multiple health scares with a terminal disease have not had a damper on his social life. He still goes dancing every week and continues to carry on like he's a young fella. The man is unstoppable. So I'm going to continue on my journey along with my partner June.
Last week when we were in Winnipeg we decided that we would move back and I would continue my work. I was there to produce a different project with Rhayne and Charlene and it was like magic. I said to myself that if I found an affordable place I would come back and sure enough I did. The last day!
So together, June and I are going to be living in Winnipeg and I am going to work in film again! We spent the time back so far preparing to make this move and I also spent time gathering what I needed to make work for myself moving forward. Charlene and I reopened our production company and I took it upon myself to make a title card for us...
Fat Black Wolf, a production company from ODMK and Charlene Moore Est. 2018 -Created by ODMK
As we continue on in our journey, me with Charlene, and Rhayne, me with the rest of the cast and crew of the film I am producing; 'LEVERS', and with my friends and family and above all, my partner June, I hope we navigate in a positive, happy, good way. I hope that whatever tomorrow has in store for us, we are able to make art, collaborate and dream with those who we love. I hope that the road that is paved is not fraught with turmoil but plentiful, bountiful and better than we can imagine. May creator bless everything we do and keep us out of harms way. May we expand ourselves emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.