Cree Code Talker

Charles (Checker) Tomkins
Charles (Checker) Tomkins

Richard Froese

A short documentary film about a former Grouard man will make its public debut at the Calgary International Film Festival next month.

“Cree Code Talker has been accepted into CIFF 2016 and the film has been nominated for an Alberta Spirit Award,” says Alex Lazarowich, director of the production, with roots in Slave Lake.

The 14-minute film about the role of Charles (Checker) Tomkins during the Second World War will be one of 10 films featured on Sept 25 at Theatre Junction Grand starting at 5:30 p.m.

(Following the screening, a jury will present one innovative short film with the Alberta Spirit Award with a $2,500 cash prize, recognizing the best in Alberta short filmmaking,” Lazarowich says.

Another notable film includes God’s Acre that features Sucker Creek actor Lorne Cardinal who starred as Sergeant Quinton Davis in the popular TV series Corner Gas that ran from 2004-2009.

An isolated Aboriginal man is watching the water rise around his traditional lands and he must now grapple with the decision to either abandon his home or adapt to an impossible situation.

Cree Code Talker was produced in spring 2016 after about one year of research and interviews.

“At this moment, we have no plans to screen the film in High Prairie or Slave Lake,” Lazarowich says
“We are still co-ordinating with some organizations who might host an event but nothing is confirmed.”

She and producer Cowboy Smithx are also waiting to determine where the film will have its world premiere.

Several of Tomkins’ relatives and other local people were interviewed as the documenters visited the Grouard area last summer.

The film was chosen from many submissions to be part of the National Screen Institutes Aboriginal Documentary Program.

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