Inspired by his heritage and the stories of other Indigenous Peoples in Canada, Métis filmmaker Daniel Foreman created the Legendary Myths series with his production partner, Sharlene Millang. In 2018, two films in the series won awards for Best Animation, one at the American Indian Film Festival and another at the Red Nation Film Festival. Meet Daniel Foreman…
What do you love about short films in particular?
I love the challenge of creating a compelling story in a short time frame. You really have to cut all the fat and focus on the crux of the tale while making it entertaining. With longer-form narratives, you can stretch story and character arcs over a few hours for a feature film or multi-episodes for a television season.
You’ve said Legendary Myths would be a great resource in North American schools. How do you see that unfolding?
We designed the series to teach about different Indigenous cultures, language, and history. The live-action segments introduce and then reiterate the teaching, and the animation expounds upon the lesson with a goal to captivate the audience and entertain. Teachers have been discovering the episodes organically and bringing them into the classroom. We are approaching different school boards across western Canada and plan on working with them to develop teaching resources that work with the individual episodes. Our goal is to have this taught as part of the curriculum for Indigenous studies across all of Canada.
When asked about your favourite story in the series, you mentioned a fondness for the central female character in Dogfish Woman. What draws you to her?
The central female character in Raven and the Dogfish Woman, Akula, was a lot of fun to write. She has many secrets and a dark, turbulent history, but still finds the capacity to love and share. Akula has a dry sense of humour and is full of magic. She is also a physical creature and loves playing in the ocean. Underneath her soft exterior, she is strong and confident in herself.
Tell us about the feature-length film you’ll be shooting this year, The Horned Serpent.
The story deals with a few different themes, including the lack of initiations we have to help boys transition into men, the high rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the power of family.
Where can people view your work?
We have a couple of film production companies, and most of our work is available to enjoy right on the websites. Treaty 6 Productions is home for our Indigenous stories—full episodes are screening all over the world at various film festivals—and Groove Soldier is for our non-Indigenous stories.