Just in time for Halloween comes Tales From the Rez

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023 11:08am


Image Caption

Still from the series Tales From the Rez now streaming on APTN lumi
By Crystal St.Pierre
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

APTN lumi is streaming Tales From the Rez, a six-episode series developed by Blackfoot filmmaker Trevor Solway. It brings a new twist to popular Blackfoot traditional stories and urban legends.

“It is a horror-comedy anthology series,” said Solway, whose roots are in Siksika Nation. “It is something similar to Tales From the Crypt, Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark, these kinds of 90s anthologies. It’s like that, but with Native old stories.”

Each episode blends humour and spine-chilling suspense.

“They’re stories that I heard from my grandparents or uncles or aunts or their friends in the community. I grew up at Siksika and when people told me these stories, they talked as if they actually happened,” Solway said.

“So I always knew that Natives had, like our community had, this abundance of scary stories of very spiritual people, superstitious people, and we’re also very funny.”

The series features Eugene Brave Rock, Shane Ghostkeeper, Shayla Stonechild, Michelle Thrush, Joel Oulette, Nathan Alexis, Cody Lightning, and newcomer Charles Duck Chief as Rez Keeper Uncle Randalf.

These “real life events” Solway had heard in his childhood are also stories that are often told in other communities, he said.

“Our first episode is about when the devil walked into the Queen’s Hotel in Fort Macleod, and I’ve heard that a similar story was in these other communities.”

Over the past several years Solway worked to create the plots and characters to tell tales of the Goat Man and of Water Spirits while paying homage to slasher and poltergeist films.

“I just love storytelling... I like fiction,” he said. “And in a lot of my fiction, my work tends to be more comedic. This is my first kind of venture into the horror genre, but I’ve always loved the shows growing up. I watched Goosebumps and me and my cousins would crowd around my grandma’s TV and we’d all watch them.”

Colin Van Loon from the Piikani Nation produced the series and said he is very proud of the outcome.

“I hope that people are really excited about the Indigenous layer, like in the same way that we’re excited about the Indigenous layer,” said Van Loon.

“It’s a way to explore issues in our community that might be a bit less confrontational than perhaps a documentary or something. There’s quite a number of things that are kind of being unpacked, but not really in the controversial way.”

A comic book style image of an old man sitting on a couch, a cigarette in one hand and a bottle in another.
A poster promoting free community screenings around Calgary of Tales from the Rez. See information below.

The Alberta and BC team behind Tales from the Rez also worked on the recently released documentary Kaatohkitopii: The Horse He Never Rode and producer Van Loon's award-winning immersive and experimental 360-video documentary project This is Not a Ceremony.

Solway has announced the team will be working on filming a second season of Tales From the Rez, to be release prior to Halloween 2024. The next season will include tales from other Indigenous communities around the globe.

“When we were developing the show, we at least had 18 scripts and we had to pick our six best,” explained Solway. “And so we’re coming back and looking at some ideas that we really liked, that we had to leave behind, but we’re also going to create some new ones.”

Solway has organized three free of charge community screenings of the series at Calgary Central Library on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., Siksika Nation Powwow Arbor on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., and at Fort Macleod, Empress Theatre on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m.

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