New TV series points lens at northern firefighters

With the new $10 million dollars worth of grants available to different Saskatchewan film and television producers, productions are now popping up across the province.

The Wavelength Entertainment Group is one organization included that club, with Chris Triffo being one of the award-winning producers within their company.

Triffo has been known for developing series such as Nordic Lodge, Bridging Borders, and I Lived With a Killer. Soon, viewers will be able to add one more to Triffo’s list: Guardian of the North. The film focuses on firefighters in northern Saskatchewan.

“We’re working with the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency and First Nations Emergency Management,” Triffo said in a phone interview Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been working with firefighters around P.A. and LaRonge. That includes the water bomber pilots, the type 1 firefighters around La Ronge as they’ve been fighting fires throughout the season. The Saskatchewan First Nations Emergency Management is in P.A.., and they travel the province and they train other firefighters on reserves to build up their own fire hall on reserve.

“They also do search and rescue, and training other things. We’re following that.”

The documentary series will have a lot of local communities showcased, Triffo explained.

“We’ve also been filming on Muskoday, a wonderful community just outside of P.A. They have a volunteer fire department there so we’ve been following them, including filming the Provincial Fireman Games a month or two ago.”

However, not everything is fun and games.

“One of the things we’re trying to show with this series is the critical importance of Indigenous firefighters because a lot of them are from the area. They know the land. They know the ins and outs. They’ve grown up in the area so it’s invaluable having Indigenous firefighters who are from the area who are on the team,” Triffo said.

“It’s been wonderful just getting to know the different firefighters in and around LaRonge, and the different pilots, and the different crew that attack fire from the air and the crew that attack fire by ground.

“We’re including the big Stanley Mission fire,” Triffo said.

“We were covering that, so that’s going to be part of the series as well.”

What advice would Triffo offer to any fledgling filmmakers wanting to go further in the industry?

“I would say that now is a really good time to get involved in a TV series or drama or any kind of content creation because of the advent of streaming service, there’s such an appetite out there for more content, including venues out there like YouTube.

“Now is a great time to get involved with the industry and to start finding ways that you can create content.”

The six episode series, Guardians of the North, will premiere on City TV Saskatchewan in February 2023, as well as on City TV / Rogers Sports and Media throughout Canada. Guardians of the North is made possible with the involvement of the Creative Saskatchewan Television Production Grant, Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. A virtual reality/360 project is in production to augment the television component. It will also broadcast/stream in various other countries around the world.

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