Blackstone

Nathaniel Arcand and Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Nathaniel Arcand and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

I do not like violence, or corruption, or abuse of power, or sexual exploitation of women. Unfortunately, the excellent TV series Blackstone is filled by them wall to wall, showing with lots of drama the darker side of a First Nations reserve. For that reason, I was unable to remain faithful to the show until the end of the second season. Blackstone season 3, which is going to be the most provocative yet, will be released in Fall 2013 on the Canadian television network APTN.

Eric Schweig, Warren Michael, Tommy J. Mueller and Michelle Thrush – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig and Michelle Thrush – Blackstone (2011)

Intense, compelling and confrontational, Blackstone is an unmuted exploration of power, politics and relationships on the fictional Blackstone First Nation. This original TV series is unlike any other show on the air today. Entertaining and informative, Blackstone is a story of hope and reconciliation in its portrayal of Native people fighting for better lives – on and off the reserve. To date, Blackstone has won 20 awards and received 49 award nominations, including three nominations at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards.

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig, Tommy J. Muller and Warren Michael – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig as Andy Fraser in «Blackstone»

Eric Schweig as Andy Fraser in «Blackstone»

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Warren Michael, Eric Schweig and Tommy J. Mueller – Blackstone (2011)

Blackstone tackles very crudely current problems experienced on a reserve, with a cast of native actors perfectly talented and effective: Carmen Moore, Eric Schweig, Michelle Thrush, Nathaniel Arcand, Steven Cree Molison, Andrea Menard, Ray G. Thunderchild, Justin Rain, Ashley Callingbull, Tantoo Cardinal, Roseanne Supernault, Bernard Starlight, Georgina Lightning, Michelle Latimer, Garry Farmer. Eric Schweig plays the role of a villain, Andy Fraser, Chief of Blackstone. The Fraser family has controlled Blackstone for decades and Andy is the latest Chief in this legacy of nepotism and corruption. Savvy and manipulative, he extorts the members of the Nation and funnels reserve money into his own projects. When Chief Fraser isn’t able to charm a situation in his favor, he quickly turns to intimidation and threats.

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig as Andy Fraser - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig as Andy Fraser – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2012)

The first Season of Blackstone won two Gemini Awards, and garnered two wins at the 2011 Leo Awards and three wins at the 2011 Alberta Film and Television Awards. Unfolding over nine one-hour episodes, the first Season presents Blackstone First Nation suffering disintegration by its own hand – the result of the corruption of its Chief and Council. From within the community, a new generation of leaders, with Leona Stoney (Carmen Moore) and Victor Merasty (Nathaniel Arcand), rise up and fight hard to create lasting and substantial change. If Andy Fraser loses for the first time his election in favor of Leona Stoney, he does not hesitate to use all villainous means at his disposal  to regain power. Meanwhile, Leona’s sister, Gail (Michelle Thrush, who delivers a great performance in this role) fights against alcoholism and the mourning of his daughter Natalie (Roseanne Supernault. also excellent) who committed suicide.

Eric Schweig and Carmen Moore - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig and Carmen Moore – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig and Justin Rain – Blackstone (2011)

If the second season of Blackstone were to be summarized in one sentence, it would be this: The stories could have been ripped right from real-life news headlines. Story lines in Season 2 include mismanagement of band funding, missing Aboriginal women, foster care, and toxic water on the reserve – all of which parallel real-life social issues facing many First Nations today. The second season of Blackstone has made a tremendous impact among television audiences with its intense, compelling and confrontational content. It has also generated significant acclaim among media from coast to coast.

Michelle Thrush and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

The character played by Eric Schweig in Blackstone, Andy Fraser, shows a selfish, contradictory and dangerous mind. He cheats on his wife (Andrea Menard), he murders his mistress (Lee Tomaschefski), he corrupts democracy, he takes care of his father (Ray G. Thunderchild), which has diabetes, but at the same time he hates him, because he is constantly critical about his decisions and actions. This dysfunctional father-son relationship is at the heart of Andy’s behavior, which degenerates slowly into a kind of psychopath, haunted by the ghost of his deceased father. In fact, the spirits of the deads occur regularly in Blackstone, to confront the protagonists to their worst inner demons.

Ray G. Thunderchild and Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2012)

Ray G. Thunderchild and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2012)

Ray G. Thunderchild and Eric Shweig - Blackstone (2012)

Ray G. Thunderchild and Eric Shweig – Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig -Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig -Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig gives a perfectly convincing interpretation of Andy Fraser, a negative leader that we love to hate. For this role, he was nominated for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series at the Leo Awards in 2011.

Much of the action of Blackstone is shot on hand-held cameras. Although this choice helps accentuate the nervous style of acting, it is unfortunately the main fault of the show. In fact, ALL scenes are filmed in hand-held camera with continuous zoom-in zoom-out, mostly unjustified. These random maneuvers come to dilute sometimes the intensity of the interpretation of the actors rather than magnify them. Despite this problem, since Blackstone series first hit the airwaves in January 2011, it has consistently ranked as one of APTN’s top-rated and most popular programs.  Here is what some of them have to say about Blackstone:

“Addiction, foster care, missing women – dire subjects all, and all equally ignored in Canadian drama programming. Thankfully there is at least one homemade drama that’s willing to tackle the issues facing aboriginal Canadians, as Blackstone returns for its second season.” – National Post.

Eric Schweig -Blackstone (2012)

“Blackstone is a portrayal of struggle — the struggle between life and the reality of circumstance. The drama, set upon the fictional Blackstone Nation, is particularly relevant in a time when images of the Attawapiskat and Hobbema reserves are difficult to escape.” – Vancouver Observer

“Blackstone is an important and timely series that tackles real-life issues relevant to First Nations today – topics like water problems, foster care, missing women, and addiction.” – Channel Canada

Eric Schweig -Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig -Blackstone (2012)

“With a raw, unflinching look at life on a Native Canadian reserve, Blackstone boasts performances and characters usually reserved for networks like FX and HBO and series like Rescue Me and The Shield.” – TVguide.ca

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2013)

“It’s pretty raw at times… It’s like the Canadian and the First Nations version of The Wire in a sense that it’s painting a really raw image of what life could be like.” – George Stroumbouloulos Tonight

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2014)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2014)

Blackstone in Black and White

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig -Blackstone

Eric Schweig -Blackstone

Eric Schweig and Gordon Tootoosis (1941-2011)- Blackstone

Eric Schweig and Gordon Tootoosis (1941-2011)- Blackstone

Justin Rain and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Steven Cree Molison and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Steven Cree Molison and Eric Schweig – Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig and Andrea Menard - Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig and Andrea Menard – Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig – Blackstone Season 2 Launch Party

Blackstone behind the scene

Eric Schweig - Blackstone (2011)

Eric Schweig, Ray G. Thunderchild and Steven Cree Molison – Blackstone Season 2 Launch Party

Eric Schweig and Andrea Menard – Blackstone (2012)

Eric Schweig and production team – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig and production team – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig and production team – Blackstone (2013)

Eric Schweig and production team – Blackstone (2013)

Blackstone

2011-2013

Director:  Ron E. Scott

Writer: Ron E. Scott

Stars:  Carmen Moore, Eric Schweig, Michelle Thrush, Nathaniel Arcand, Steven Cree Molison, Andrea Menard, Ray G. Thunderchild.

Awards

WINNER – GEMINI AWARDS
Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role
Best Achievement in Main Title Design
3 NOMINATIONS

WINNER – LEO AWARDS
Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series
Best Screenwriting in a Drama
5 NOMINATIONS

WINNER – AFTA
Best Actress
Best Screenwriter Drama Over 30
Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity
9 NOMINATIONS

WINNER – AFTA
Best Dramatic Production Under 60
Best Director
Best Actress
Best Screenwriter Drama Over 30
Best Production Reflecting Cultural Diversity
9 NOMINATIONS

WINNER – American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco)
Best Supporting Actress
4 NOMINATIONS

Blackstone TV

Blackstone First Nation

Posted on 20 May 2013, in TV Series and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ve never seen Blackstone as we don’t receive it in the US (as far as I know), but i would watch anything with Eric Schweig in it. Just recently watched “Follow The Stars” with Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal and a very young Eric Schweig. Although I think he is a gifted actor, I think his greatest gifts lay elsewhere. i’ll go on the record here, and I’m not saying anything I don’t think he knows already: that he is a natural leader. He has it in him to be a truly great leader….his heart is in the right place. I’ll stop before I sound too obsessed!

  2. Any updates on Maiina? Will it be shown in the States?

    • Scheduled for release in October 2013, the French subtitled version of Maïna will be distributed by Equinoxe in Quebec and possibly in France, and its English subtitled version will be distributed by Union Picture in Canada and, if all goes well, in the United States as well.

  3. I would love to know how to get this show in Colorado USA…..

  4. Is Blackstone available on DVD?

  5. I love the show…. Until I move back north
    I am watching it on hula plus, aptn
    Will not work.
    Real reality at its best. Not the crap on U.S. Channels

  6. I binged watched all 5 seasons on Netflix and I really enjoyed the show. I’m so happy that they shared this with us here in the USA. I recommend this show to all except minors. I fell in love with all of the characters. The actors did a great job. Andy was my favorite character. A wonderful bad guy that you will love to hate.

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