Race against time

Writer/director Richard Story says his TV pilot, The Time Traveler, isa little different from what folks might expect to see on theAboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Writer/director Richard Story says his TV pilot, The Time Traveler, is a little different from what folks might expect to see on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

“But not just APTN,” says Story, who wrapped filming of the one-hour pilot last week in Toronto. “It’s a native time travel sci-fi drama — so it’s pretty unique for anywhere.”

Produced by Story, Sandra Edmunds, Lorne Cardinal and Kent Sobey, The Time Traveler follows young Nikki (Elitsa Bako), who lives in a future Earth where man has finally learned to live in harmony with nature.

Unfortunately, man is also doomed due to infertility. To save her world, Nikki must travel back to present day Toronto and find the key to saving her dying species.

Shot on a budget that producer Sobey describes as “less than your traditional pilot,” The Time Traveler got around its budgetary limitations by approaching the project like an indie feature.

“You use a small crew, you shoot on the street, you get really great shots and sound, fantastic performances, and you take your time putting it together,” says Story, who has two features to his resume.

APTN Director of Programming Peter Strutt says Time Traveler is part of the channel’s increased emphasis on drama — particularly drama with an appeal outside its core audience.

“There will always be our niche programs. But opportunities do arise with some programs to crossover into new audiences,” says Strutt, citing recent projects like the family series Mixed Blessings and APTN’s sketch comedy Caution May Contain Nuts.

APTN has also joined with other specialty channels in recent years on crossover fare. Recent successes include the casino-set drama Cashing In (made with Showcase), and the creepy crime drama Rabbit Fall, which aired not only on APTN, but Vision and Space.

“In collaborations, we can maximize limited resources and support more drama,” says Strutt.

The Time Traveler — tentatively scheduled to air in late fall — seems sure to attract more than the regular APTN audience. But that said, Story says it will still deal in aboriginal issues, such as the forced indoctrination of native children into other cultures.

“The pain and alienation of something like that will be there. But for non-aboriginal viewers, it’ll be about the story and characters first. But if you’re aboriginal and watching it, it’s going to be very obvious.”

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