Ever Good Hunter Me
Ever Good Hunter Me is a sequel of sorts to the filmmaker’s documentary "Okimah", a 1998 award-winning film produced by the National Film Board of Canada, which focused on the fall goose hunt told from the perspective of his father, mother, brothers and sisters. This new documentary is told from the perspective of the children featured in that film, many of whom were too young to hunt, babies, and in the case of one of them – not yet born.
This documentary came out of the blue. The filmmaker had planned to partake in the hunt this year for the first time in many years. He even bought his gun along in hopes of shooting some geese. He also brought along his HD camcorder in the hopes of capturing some family footage of the hunt for his own use. But instead of actually hunting, Paul ended up shooting a documentary from day one after realizing that he was capturing something unique - the young people today continuing a long Cree tradition – something similar to his own experience as a young person learning from his father. But now it is a new generation following in the footsteps of many other generations before them.
Ever Good Hunter Me was shot in April 2010 at the traditional hunting territory of the filmmaker’s family called Little Nestichee, located near Moose Factory along the shores of James Bay in Northern Ontario.
The film captures the young hunters from day one upon arrival at the camp to their departure seven days later. Throughout the film, we see these young hunters in their environment – setting up a tent, making breakfast, gathering their guns and supplies, walking through swamp to get to their hunting blinds, setting up decoys and waiting for the geese to fly. We also see scenes of the young hunters bringing home their kill of geese and ducks to show their family. It is a testament of the pride and excitement that they feel about the hunt.
The documentary uses no narration, as the young people and the filmmaker’s father provide the necessary information through their interviews. The film is highlighted with interviews of the characters as they reflect on what the hunt is all about and what it means to be taking part in this traditional activity. Throughout the film, an interview with their grandfather, Frederick Rickard Sr., is interwoven with the young hunters as Frederick talks about his own life experiences and shares his knowledge and observations about the hunt, the land and animals.
The scenes of hunting are also intercut with other activities that are happening around the camp such as cutting wood, berry picking, the smaller children playing and plucking. The documentary is filmed in a cinéma vérité style that showcases the interactions and relationships between all the characters, young and old, which is the heart of this documentary.
The production phase of “Ever Good Hunter Me” was financed solely by the filmmaker and was shot in HD 16:9 at 1080 60i on the new Canon HFS200 camcorder. The final version will be presented in 16:9 1080p HD on HDCAM with SD versions on Betacam SP.
Post Production Phase
The rough-cut runs 64 minutes in length from original footage of over 10 hours of material. The proposed completed length of the documentary will be for a television hour cut of 48 minutes. A longer 60-minute festival cut will also be made available, from which the shorter version will be derived.
The documentary's working title "Ever Good Hunter Me" is a play on words. It is a literal translation of the Cree saying that people tend to use when they say that they are good at hunting.
- Status of Project: Post Production (rough cut stage)
- Language Version: English and Cree with English subtitles
- Final Proposed Lengths: 48 min (TV) and 75 min (Festival)
- Format: HD Cam and Betacam SP
- Completion/Delivery: Spring 2011