When we submitted our rough cuts for what is now Season 3 of our Handcrafted Manitoba series, we received an email from MTS TV Executive Producer Cam Bennett:

“This is wonderful work. Each episode was like a tonic or a meditation. We sat silently and happily, consuming every frame. Your storytelling now seems the equal of your impressive technical toolkit. Skillfully, you’ve drawn from each person the most wonderful, thoughtful, and unique confessionals. Thanks for reminding me what it is we’re supposed to be doing here.”

Given that Cam is someone we respect immensely, one of the most accomplished documentary directors in the province, and represents the broadcaster, the words had some weight and felt pretty darn good for us to hear.

For almost four years now, we’ve thrown ourselves into this life experiment of Ice River Films we chosen for ourselves. I don’t think we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We still don’t to tell you the truth. What we had back then was a desire to tell meaningful stories, pushing ourselves to get better along the way. It seems we’ve done that. Given that the Handcrafted Manitoba series was the first project we sank our teeth into when we started, I’d like to think it gives a unique window into how far we’ve come.

It’s hard to see one’s own growth when buried beneath a heavy workload amid the pressure of broadcaster deadlines. We spent all winter working on our first hour-long documentary (A Life on the Line) and through spring and summer we were in full post-production mode on it. That meant we had three months to make Handcrafted Manitoba Season 3 at the same time. That’s 85 minutes of content due to broadcasters for August 31, no small feat for our operation.

So, we strapped ourselves in for the ride, sponging the knowledge and experiences of each artist. Through it all, we managed to channel these nuanced stories of four very different people, each one creative and living life in his own original way. Here’s a quick breakdown of the episodes:

Given that Cam is someone we respect immensely, one of the most accomplished documentary directors in the province, and represents the broadcaster, the words had some weight and felt pretty darn good for us to hear.

For almost four years now, we’ve thrown ourselves into this life experiment of Ice River Films we chosen for ourselves. I don’t think we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We still don’t to tell you the truth. What we had back then was a desire to tell meaningful stories, pushing ourselves to get better along the way. It seems we’ve done that. Given that the Handcrafted Manitoba series was the first project we sank our teeth into when we started, I’d like to think it gives a unique window into how far we’ve come.

It’s hard to see one’s own growth when buried beneath a heavy workload amid the pressure of broadcaster deadlines. We spent all winter working on our first hour-long documentary (A Life on the Line) and through spring and summer we were in full post-production mode on it. That meant we had three months to make Handcrafted Manitoba Season 3 at the same time. That’s 85 minutes of content due to broadcasters for August 31, no small feat for our operation.

So, we strapped ourselves in for the ride, sponging the knowledge and experiences of each artist. Through it all, we managed to channel these nuanced stories of four very different people, each one creative and living life in his own original way. Here’s a quick breakdown of the episodes:

Episode 1 - One of the innovators of the modern glass art movement, Warren Carther creates on a massive scale in public spaces.

Warren Cartier Handcrafted Manitoba

Episode 2 - A man who literally marches to the beat of his own drums, Guy Anthony, is a tailor and custom upholster specializing in custom motorcycle seats.

Robert Freynet Handcrafted Manitoba

Episode 3 - Graphic novelist and painter Robert Freynet brings Southern Manitoba history to life, from books to massive murals.

Robert Freynet Handcrafted Manitoba

Episode 4 - We weave our way through the mind of multi-disciplinary creator Nereo Eugenio through his poetry and creative process as he brings his work into being.

Nereo Handcrafted Manitoba

For each of the previous two season, it was a two-man show to make this series happen with Sam Karney and myself (Andrew Wiens) wearing multiple hats throughout. This time, we tapped our friend and colleague Rudy Gauer to handle editing duties. It made for an impressive team effort. We’re extremely proud of Handcrafted Manitoba Season 3. It feels like this is some of the best work we’ve ever done, and I think it finally hit us when we got that email from Cam.

We’re grateful to each artists who took time out of their busy schedules to share their stories with us – Warren, Guy, Robert and Nereo – and to Cam Bennett and Kim Bell from MTS TV who have given us a lifeline through their program enabling us to grow as filmmakers and into the business of Ice River Films. Who knows what the future holds for our beloved Handcrafted series. If it’s the last of them, we know that we’re leaving it on a high note.

Andrew Wiens
Ice River Films Inc.