Last Friday, the CBC planted the last nail in the coffin of the series Trickster, directed by Michelle Latimer.
It’s a tragedy. If it found a certain echo in English Canada, hardly anyone has spoken of it in Quebec. There would therefore be subjects that are too delicate to broach or that one broaches at one’s own risk.
Even if the 2e season of Trickster (The trickster) was already engaged, the CBC ended it abruptly. Was the public broadcaster afraid of his shadow? Maybe … Anyway, he preferred not to interfere in the extravagant identity dispute that dealt the fatal blow to the series.
Michelle Latimer could not demonstrate that she has origins linked to the Anishinabeg community of Maniwaki, but only distant links with indigenous women from the 17e century, “we” ostracized it without further ado. I write “on” in quotes, because the director has not been condemned by the Assembly of First Nations or the Métis National Council, but only by scattered voices that have been raised in a few indigenous communities in the country. .
AN $ 18 MILLION PROJECT
Trickster was not a minor project. If my information is correct, the series would have cost so far $ 18 million, of which more than 80% of public money. This is three to four times the budget of a Quebec series. All of the leading roles had been given to Aboriginal people from across the country and across the United States. First broadcast on CBC, the series was picked up by the American channel CW, then by SBS in Australia and by SyFy in the United Kingdom. Much more than esteem success!
Trickster shows the difficult daily life of a young Native (played by the excellent Lou Oulette), torn between his desire to continue his studies, loyalty to his dysfunctional family and the urgent need to earn a living by manufacturing makeshift drugs. The pace is slow, the climate is unusual and disturbing, with fantastic escapes borrowed from Aboriginal mythology. The series is far from showing Aboriginal people in their best light, but it does give the impression of great authenticity. As for the actors, they could not be more credible.
How can a simple identity dispute end a business of this magnitude? You must surely be a pure Native to understand anything about it, although I would be curious to hear what the majority of Native people think.
But there are other troubling questions. Would Michelle Latimer have gotten the CBC approval and all these grants, loans and tax credits because she was believed to be aboriginal or because she has a lot of talent and has the skills required? Would her project have been accepted because she was writing with an Aboriginal screenwriter (Tony Elliott) and was inspired by the book by an Aboriginal novelist (Eden Robinson) or because her project was original and captivating?
If it was necessary that Trickster has overcome all these obstacles especially because its protagonists are indigenous, the imposture would be total and a thousand times more reprehensible than the levity of Michelle Latimer.
If those who have just murdered Trickster manage to prevail, Telefilm or the Media Fund should end up requiring that producers and screenwriters submit with their project a certificate attesting to their genealogical origins as well as photos showing their skin color. Is being Canadian no longer enough?