Local filmmakers create TV show with indigenous outlook on diving

·3 min read

Two Grande Prairie filmmakers will be making their way across Canada as they begin production on a first-of-its-kind television show.

Len Morissette came up with the idea for the television show Water Worlds while drawing the logo on a napkin in December 2018.

“Water Worlds is going to be the first underwater dive show that explores the world's oceans and problems but with a two-eyed seeing approach where we are looking at traditional and western knowledge through an indigenous lens,” said Morissette.

“My whole life, I grew up watching underwater shows like Jacques Cousteau; I am obsessed with water.”

It has taken a team to get the show afloat, explains Morissette.

Local business partner Ryan Dalgleish will work on the project with Morissette, along with an array of talented and experienced producers including Kerriann Cardinal and Hilary Pryor.

“The series isn’t trying to point out all the problems with no solutions; the series is pointing out the problems that we all should be aware of, and these are decisions that we make on a daily basis that impact our oceans and our environment,” said Morissette.

He noted episodes would focus on people working on solving these issues with indigenous stewardship in mind and how western and traditional knowledge can complement each other.

“We're going to definitely learn about the impact we're having on our oceans and waterways, and we're going to see the technology and the solutions that people are bringing forward to solve this,” said Morissette.

“It's definitely going to be an eye-opener.”

The show will explore various topics from microplastics, marine noise, shoreline garbage pickups and the effects on wildlife such as salmon, herring and killer whales.

“I am obsessed with water; I grew up in the Okanagan, even though I was born in Saskatchewan, water is life to me,” said Morissette.

After Morrisette and Dalgleish took the idea from a napkin, it didn’t take long to begin expanding the concept.

Morissette was soon immersed in diving and underwater films and he began researching producers.

He eventually found the phone number for Danny Mauro, a producer for Ocean Odyssey: The Blue Realm. Mauro gave Morissette 15 minutes to explain his idea for Water Worlds.

Mauro liked the concept and helped Morrissette get in contact with underwater cinematographers.

After further discussions with Mauro, it became clear they needed more experienced producers attached to the show to help train and help with a lead role.

Soon after, Pryor was added as producer and started mentoring Morissette and Dalgleish.

They then were able to pitch the show to Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), which then green-lit the show for a season that would explore Canada.

On Aug. 13, the filmmakers will head to Newfoundland to begin filming and make their way across Canada to the West Coast.

They will be filming until mid-October, says Morissette.

“Water worlds was designed to be a global show, so we're supposed to be showing indigenous perspectives all through the world,” he said, but with the impact of the pandemic, for now, the show will stay in Canada.

Morissette has hopes that season two will explore indigenous divers’ perspectives globally.

The show has also attracted more talent as Tantoo Cardinal will narrate the show.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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