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Big Bear(1999)


Directed by Gil Cardinal

Written by Rudy Wiebe, Gil Cardinal

Genre : Dramatic

Length :  2 episodes of 90 minutes

Language:  English


Big Bear is the epic true story of high plains Cree chief Big Bear and his vision for a just future for his people. This two-part mini series shows Big Bear’s tireless struggle to keep his community from being forced to relocate onto reservations. But his principled determination brings starvation to his followers and threatens to tear his community, and family, apart. After years of resistance, Big Bear is finally forced to choose food over freedom and signs the famous Treaty Six so that his people can eat.


Part Two begins ten years later — and the Cree are still starving. Big Bear’s warriors learn of Metis leader Louis Riel’s rebellion against the encroaching Canadian government. They revolt against Big Bear’s leadership and, led by warlord Wandering Spirit and Big Bear’s own son, the warriors launch a disastrous strike against the white colonists of Frog Lake. Now it’s up to Big Bear to conclude his longstanding quest for peace.

Cast :

Gordon Tootoosis

Tantoo Cardinal

Lorne Cardinal

Kenetch Charlettte

Patrick James Bird

Michael Greyeyes


Awards :

1998 American Indian Film Festival (California, USA, November 1998)

Best Story

Canadian Farmers Awards


Price ​​Gemini 1999 (Toronto, Canada)

Nicoletta Massone, winner of: Best Costume Design

Pierre Saindon, Winner of: Best achievement in make-up

Nomination Gil Cardinal Best Directing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series

Clode Hamelin Nomination Best Original Score for a Program or Mini-Series


The 2000 Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards (Toronto, Canada, April 10, 2000)

Nomination: Rudy Wiebe & Gil Cardinal for writing the screenplay

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