Mushkeg Media’s president Paul M. Rickard is an Omuskego Cree from Moose Factory in Northern Ontario. For the past 15 years, he has been working as a producer, director and cameraman in collaboration with independent production companies and organizations such as Nutaaq Media Inc., Wildheart Productions, Wawatay, CBC North and the National Film Board of Canada. Now Paul is venturing into the area of independent production.
Paul studied radio and television production at the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism before joining Wawatay Native Communications Society as a television producer. At Wawatay, he shot, edited and produced a bi-weekly public affairs television show for 4 years, as well as a weekly youth program, Video Awashishak.
In 1994, he went south to Montreal to train as a camera operator with the National Film Board of Canada. In this capacity, Rickard did cinematography on several NFB documentary films for broadcast, including Multiple Choices (Alison Burns), First Nation Blue (Dan Prouty), Fennario: His World on Stage (Alex McLeod) and No Turning Back. He worked on a number of other independent productions, and in 1996-96 was producer/director of the CBC North TV series Maamuitauui.
In 1996, he wrote, shot and directed his first film, entitled Ayouwin: A Way of Life. This documentary about Rickard's father, a trapper in Moose Factory, Ontario, was produced by Wildheart Productions for broadcast on the TV Ontario Aboriginal series.
That same year, he directed Okimah at the National Film Board. This film focuses on the knowledge handed down by Cree hunting leaders, the okimah, and stresses the importance of the annual goose hunt to the survival of traditional Cree culture. Released in 35 mm, it premiered at the Vancouver Film Festival in 1998. That same year, the film went on to win the Best of the Fest award at the Yellowknife Far North Film Festival.
Okimah was broadcast on VISION TV in January 1999 and also screened at the Rendez-vous du Cinéma Québécois in Montreal. In1999, he directed and co-produced Finding My Talk: A Journey into Aborginal Languages, the pilot for the 26 part series entitled; Finding Our Talk for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. This series ran for two seasons on APTN from 2003 – 2004 with a second window on SCN in 2004.
In 2004, Paul was one of the executive producers for From Cherry English, a short dramatic film directed by Jeffrey Barnaby and produced by Nutaaq Media Inc. for CBC Zed. In 2005, Paul wrote, directed and produced his first dramatic short film entitled The Winter Chill based on a traditional Cree story told by his father. In 2005, it was nominated for Best Aboriginal Short and Best Actor (Dakota House) at the Yorkton Short Film Festival, as well as Best Short at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, California. In 2006, it won for Best Film and Best Director at the Music & Film In Motion Festival in Sudbury, Ontario. Paul is currently in development of a feature length film script entitled Sideways North.