Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Peter Robinson is pleased that one of his latest projects deviated from the typical girl-meets-boy-and-falls-in-love story.
Robinson, a member of Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia, is the co-star of a quirky romantic comedy webseries titled Jason.
All six episodes in the series will be available for streaming on Feb. 14—yes, that’s Valentine’s Day—on APTN lumi, offered by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
Robinson plays the title character, Jason, a 20-year-old writer who has left his First Nation home and heads off to the big city to attend university and pursue his writing.
Jason ends up falling in love and having a relationship with Karen, played by Tanis Parenteau, a Métis actress.
The story is an intriguing one and not just because Karen is already in another relationship. She is more than twice as old as Jason. Plus, she is the best friend of Jason’s sister.
“I’m really excited and glad that it’s not kind of a story that you would think would come out on Valentine’s, a bubblegum love story,” Robinson said. “It’s not really that kind of a story. It’s got a few twists to it and turns as the series progresses. I’m glad that we’ve gone against the grain a little bit and made something different from maybe what you would expect from a Valentine’s Day show.”
The series was written and directed by Andrew Genaille, a member of Peters First Nation in British Columbia. Parenteau, who also helped produce Jason, had previously worked with Genaille, producing a few of his short films.
“It is a different kind of a love story,” Parenteau said of Jason. “There’s still feelings and relationships and love involved. Just not your traditional Hallmark.”
There’s also a couple of other reasons why Parenteau is fond of this series.
“One thing I really love about a lot of Andrew’s writing is that he is Indigenous and he writes stories with Indigenous characters, but sometimes there really isn’t anything Indigenous in the story,” Parenteau said. “Like the characters just are Indigenous and they’re just living their lives. And so it’s not necessarily checking any box like, ‘oh it’s an Indigenous story because it has x, y, z in it from an Indigenous content’. That’s what is exciting to me. And it’s giving an opportunity for Indigenous actors to play Indigenous roles as just regular people and not serving any sort of purpose for an Indigenous story.”
Parenteau also likes the fact two women in their forties had key roles, herself as the lead, and Stefany Mathias in a supporting role, playing Amanda, who is Jason’s sister.
Mathias is the daughter of the late Joe Mathias, who was an influential hereditary chief of Squamish Nation in B.C.
“I think those roles for women are few and far between, and are really important to see that on screen for young women coming up in the industry and women of all ages in the industry,” Parenteau said. “I’m a big champion of that.”
Genaille had written Jason, even before he knew where it would be developed. Parenteau said APTN had put out a request for proposals for webseries to be screened on its lumi platform.
“Andrew had this show and we thought it would be a good pitch to them,” Parenteau said. “And they were into it.”
As for Robinson, who is actually 33, he had left his home to attend film school in Los Angeles.
“So, I see a lot of similarities in myself as to Jason,” he said. “And I guess Vancouver to LA is a bit of small town. But I think any young Indigenous person that has moved away to gain life experiences, is away for their family and is exploring life on their own, can relate to Jason in a way.”
The trailer for the webseries Jason can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXjI6be0ZBY Content may not be suitable for all viewers.
A paid subscription to APTN lumi is required to watch the series. It will be available here