ODMK, born Kenneth Charles Burns was raised in James Smith Cree Nation (1989) via Hector Burns and Diane (originally raised in Young’s Point settlement, a member of OCN in Northern MB) and the youngest of 4 biological children and many adopted siblings. Young “Kenny” grew up with his head in the clouds and heart on his sleeve. Knowing what the future held was not something he thought seriously about until one day in English class a fellow student called upon him with consequences the echoed into his present and throughout his entire existence (future pending). The ensuing project “Life of a Homeless Person” led to the emergence of the persona ODMK or, Oliver Darrius Merrick King.
Creating YouTube videos with his best friend let to the flourishing of his creativity. Kenny spent the rest of his high school years chasing aspirations and machinations that caused an existential crisis, fame? Fortune? As Ken matured he realized he didn’t want to continue his life chasing those aspirations. This led to a question that was a hard one to face. What now? Taking time for himself and trying to figure himself out was a long and tumultuous part of his life, drinking and experimenting with drugs led to paths he did not like for himself. In the early 2010s his life was forever changed. Kenny became a caretaker for a child that was so bright and full of energy that the time they spent together rejuvenated him. Who knew a question from a toddler would awaken a hunger.
“Well what is your dream?”
Which led to the full pursuit of becoming exactly who he knew he wanted to be. Taking 3 film programs from 2014 (Nu Media), 2015 (The Adam Beach Film Institute’s ‘Enhanced Filmmaking and Skills’ program accredited by the Red River College) and in 2016 the National Screen Institutes ‘New Voices’ (now New Indigenous Voices’) these programs gave him the insight into just what was out there in terms of Indigenous peoples in media.
As it always felt it was going to be, Ken changed his name to ODMK but feel free to ‘Call Me Olly’ (CBC Short Doc link here). Working in Winnipeg on project after project meant that Olly was able to create content, realize dreams and fulfill his destiny, a destiny that he was always meant to achieve.
Recently, talking with a friend and former roommate a spark in the recesses of their collective memory was lit. “You’re doing exactly what you said you were going to do all those years ago. It’s crazy that everything you said are coming true and I’m so proud of you for that, I tell everyone, how crazy is that? Here you are after all this time, you knew…” Laying in bed overlooking Main street in our small town we sat together in the middle of the night and Olly dreamed of the life he’s living now.
Working on Hollywood feature films (‘Percy’ starring Christopher Walken, ‘Nobody’ starring Bob Odenkirk) television series like ‘Channel Zero; Butchers Block’ and ‘Burden of Truth’ as well as creating a body of work that is as extensive as it is impressive for the amount of time he’s been active. Oliver also worked at the City of Winnipeg in the Indigenous Relations Division and did social media for the Winnipeg Film Group, Indigenous Filmmakers Collective among many others learning the ins-and-outs of corporate and organizational work.
Right before Covid Olly had decided it was time to spend time with family in Saskatchewan, his father had numerous health scares as well as a mother whose health was on the decline. Family is very important to him as he continues to try and make the effort of being around for his parents, nieces, nephews, and their children. The distance from his film community and work didn’t deter him. Olly has been active just as much now as he’s ever been. Taking two programs in 2023 ‘ColourReversal’ put on by the Sask VideoPool in Regina and the Toronto Queer Film Festivals ‘Animation Workshop’ has added more to his impressive skill set that he continues to extend with every passing day. Olly starred in the upcoming feature ‘8th Street Menace’ as a fictional version of himself alongside his newfound relative (Co-Writer and Director Gavin Baird who also plays the titular Mitchell ‘Menace’ Dubois) coming soon.
Olly is currently enjoying the creation of his first animated film that came from the TQFF program. The film ‘E P H E M E R A’ is a look into the “hook-up culture” of the modern homosexual through the lens of a 2Spirit person in his 30’s. Olly is also producing a feature film with his frequent collaborator and friend Rhayne Vermette as well as co-writing with Rhayne a feature tentatively titled “Going Red” which is just one of many future projects that are currently in the works from (and with) ODMK.