There are moments. Those moments confirming one’s efforts, monumental in their importance, validating every last bead of sweat on one’s brow. Last night’s screening of ‘Handcrafted Manitoba: Season 2’ was one of those for us at Ice River Films.

As filmmakers, we put together the final product in our edit suite, comfortably tucked away from the audience that will eventually be watching our work. Last night, for the first time, we hosted a screening. We held it at the Park Theatre in our home city of Winnipeg. To see the physical manifestation of our work in a public forum was incredible. It’s certainly unnerving as you sit there and second guess every decision you made while the audience scrutinizes your work. But in this case, I have to say, this may have been the best feeling we’ve had in sharing our stories.

The second season of ‘Handcrafted Manitoba’ is now playing on MTS VOD under ‘Stories From Home’ and features four episodes of approximately 10 minutes each. Watching them in this theatre setting, I had a renewed perspective on each story – both individually but also how they worked together to form a bigger more complex story of the human condition.

The first story, ‘Reinventing the Steel’ features reclaimed metal artist Pierrette Sherwood. She shows us courage as she turns away from a conventional job to pursue her passion and we see hope and possibility turn into reality.

Next, we spend time with ‘Viking Carver’ Garth Meacham as we delve into Viking history and feel the spirit of their perseverant culture. Through Garth and his work, we discover the healing power that art can have in our lives.

In Riding Mountain, well off the beaten path, we get to know Reg & Jamie Kucey, who also walked away from a conventional life – Reg, a scientist turned antler carver, and Jamie a wood furniture maker. Ultimately, their story is about love, for each other, for life and for their passions and it does make ‘All the Difference.’

Finally, the last episode ‘Living in Between’, we meet Carl Froese, a buckskin brain-tanner who creates leather the way it was made in this part of the world a thousand years ago. A ‘Mennonite white guy’, as he puts it, he has been honoured to have been taught the traditional methods from elders and is now openly passing the knowledge back to the next generation of Indigenous youth. In the end, Carl teaches us to remove the veil of the concrete jungle we live in, to not get caught up in distractions of our constructed society, and to connect to the powerful natural world around us, leading us to a more fulfilling life.

Watching these pieces back, and seeing each of these amazing artists, I felt the powerful transcendent undercurrent, the positive life-changing activities that these people live every day. It was truly an honour to tell each story.

In another physical manifestation, we invited the artists to show their work in the lobby of the Park Theatre. It was fantastic to see all of the tremendous work on display and also pretty special to have many of our favourite people, all together, sharing their work and swapping stories.

Indeed, it was a special night. We are grateful to everyone who came – friends, families, colleagues, artists. The journey is really just getting started for us and we look forward to continuing to tell powerful and meaningful stories.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you from the both of us at Ice River Films.

-Andrew Wiens/Ice River Films Inc.

‘Handcrafted Manitoba: Season 2’

Directed by Andrew Wiens
Director of Photography: Sam Karney
Editors: Andrew Wiens, Sam Karney
Graphics: Katherine Huynh
Audio: Andrew Wiens
Music: Atomica Music

For MTS TV

Executive Producer: Cam Bennett
Production Manager: Kim Bell
Manager, MTS TV: Greg McLaren

See ‘Handcrafted Manitoba’ Season 1 & 2 on MTS Stories From Home
VOD under notable

Handcrafted Manitoba Season 1 – Artists

Walter Keller – Carver
Lesia Anna – Mixed Media Painter
Brooklyn Hurst – Abstract Artist
Matt Jenkins – Blacksmith
Doug Ingram – Canoe Maker
Dave Zachary – Soapstone Carver

Handcrafted Manitoba Season 2 – Artists

Pierrette Sherwood – Reclaimed Metal Artist
Garth Meacham – Viking Carver
Reg Kucey – Antler Carver
Jamie Kucey – Wood Furniture Designer & Maker
Carl Froese – Buckskin Brain-tanner