Crave announced on Monday, in association with Rezolution Pictures, APTN, and OP Little Bird, that production is underway on the Crave Original drama series, Little Bird. Created by showrunner Jennifer Podemski (Unsettled) and head writer Hannah Moscovitch (X Company), the six-part, one-hour limited series follows an Indigenous woman on a journey to find her birth family, and uncover the hidden truth of her past. The series will be available to audiences in English and French, and Fremantle will handle international distribution.
The character-driven drama features an extraordinary cast of Indigenous actors, led by newcomer Darla Contois (Dhaliwal ’15) along with: Ellyn Jade (Letterkenny); Osawa Muskwa (World Ends at Camp Z); Joshua Odjick (The Swarm); Imajyn Cardinal (Tribal); Mathew Strongeagle (Blackstone); Eric Schweig (Blackstone); and Michelle Thrush (Bones of Crows).
Award-winning filmmakers Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) and Zoe Hopkins (Run Woman Run) each direct three episodes, while Hopkins writes three of the episodes.
Little Bird explores themes of resilience in the face of trauma and loss. Removed from her home in Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan, Bezhig Little Bird is adopted into a Montréal Jewish family at the age of five, becoming Esther Rosenblum (Contois). Now in her 20s, Bezhig longs for the family she lost and is willing to sacrifice everything to find them. Her quest lands her in the Canadian prairies, worlds apart from everything she knows. As she begins to track down her siblings, she unravels the mystery behind her adoption, and discovers that her apprehension was connected to a racist government policy now known as the Sixties Scoop. Bezhig’s sense of identity shatters and she is forced to reckon with who she is and who she wants to become.
“I’m very proud to be working alongside visionaries like Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Zoe Hopkins, and a creative partner like Hannah Moscovitch, whose allyship is brilliant and remarkable,” said creator and showrunner Jennifer Podemski. “I’m also incredibly honoured to tell this story with an outstanding group of actors. We all take the responsibility very seriously, and acknowledge that the power and triumph of this project lies in the reclamation of Indigenous narratives and perspectives.”
“APTN is proud to present Little Bird, a compelling series that explores the far-reaching impact of the child welfare system on Indigenous families,” says Adam Garnet Jones, APTN’s director of TV content and special events. “The story is told by some of the brightest talents in Indigenous storytelling and provides audiences with the opportunity to reflect and have meaningful conversations about reconciliation.”
“Crave is committed to telling compelling stories that resonate with all Canadians, andLittle Bird is a powerful story that must be told,” said Justin Stockman, Vice President, Content Development and Programming, Bell Media. “We are honoured to collaborate with our partners at Rezolution, APTN, and OP Little Bird to share Little Bird with Crave audiences.”
The production of Little Bird features a training program that includes opportunities for emerging and mid-career level Indigenous creators and crew as well as for entry-level individuals to gain practical on-set experience leading to subsequent employment in the industry. Built with the understanding that training, skill-building, and professional development are integral to building capacity and sustainability in the Indigenous screen sector, the program, is made possible via partnerships with the Indigenous Screen Office, Bell Media, REEL Canada, DGC, DGC Manitoba, and IATSE 856.
Little Bird is a co-production from Bell Media’s Crave and APTN, produced by Rezolution Pictures and OP Little Bird with the participation of the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Manitoba Film and Music. Fremantle International is the distributor for the series. Led by an Indigenous creative team, Little Birdis developed by showrunner Jennifer Podemski and Rezolution Pictures, and created by Podemski and head writer Hannah Moscovitch. The series is executive produced by Ernest Webb, Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick (Rezolution Pictures), Kim Todd, Nicholas Hirst (Original Pictures), Jeremy Podeswa, Jennifer Podemski, and Hannah Moscovitch, along with Christian Vesper and Dante Di Loreto (Fremantle). Producers are Tanya Brunel and Jessica Dunn (OP Little Bird), Philippe Chabot (Rezolution Pictures) and Ellen Rutter.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.