Marie Clements grabs your attention with the opening scenes of her new series version of Bones of Crows (premiering September 20 on CBC, CBC Gem and APTN). A pyramid of caribou skulls are stacked high as crows circle overhead. It is a not so subtle symbol of the decades of horror, abuse and genocide that took place in Canada in the wake of the residential school system.
Clements has taken her festival film feature of Bones of Crows and expanded it with this five episode miniseries version. The writer, director and producer has cast well with this epic story that spans a hundred years, with Grace Dove one of three actresses who plays Cree matriarch Aline Spears, the main protagonist confronting her traumatic past.
Clements, a Metis filmmaker based in B.C., has been a storyteller in many genres, including stage, screen and television. In this conversation, we talk about the depiction of pioneering Canadian politicians in Bones of Crows, and whether the current, statue-toppling revisions go far enough when it comes to setting the record straight about the plight of the First Nations. We also talk about her filmmaking influences growing up and land upon her favourite all-time TV theme song, from a series that took its own hard look at history.