It was an honour to work on the adaptation of Margaret Laurence’s 1974 Governor-General award-winning novel with producer Seaton McLean, Michael MacMillan, and Kim Todd from Atlantis Films, story editor Anne Frank, and director Anne Wheeler. So many versions! This was my first experience in long-form television and I couldn’t have been handed a more exhilarating project. The cast–Sonja Smits, Tom Jackson, the late Wayne Robson, Jennifer Podemski, and Don Francks–was wonderful and the production won four Geminis.
I wrote this adaptation before I became a mother and before I turned forty. Looking back on it now, the protagonist Morag’s choice to reconnect with Jules Tonnerre, the Metis boy from her youth, after his family has died in a horrific fire and upon his return from WWII with PTSD, is momentous, courageous, brazen. When I adapted it, I believed it was about their passion; in retrospect, it’s far more complex than that and Morag’s struggle with their daughter, Pique, still speaks to issues First Nations and Canadians address today and the power of myth, song, and story.
When I visited the shoot in Manitoba, I spent the afternoon divining with Royland (actor Don Francks) and it was the perfect bookend to the production.
Gemini, Best TV Movie, 1994
Blizzard (Manitoba), Best Script, 1995