About andrewjoegeorge

Posts by andrewjoegeorge:

We Are Storytellers

Indigenous Perspectives, Moccasins, and the Classroom.

Almost two years ago I decided to find out why moccasins were culturally significant to Indigenous culture. For now, I’ll spare you the details of how that came about. What I will tell you is that in the end I found out that moccasins are incredible vehicles to share the stories and teachings of Indigenous cultures. In this case I should mention I’m speaking in regards to the Cree and Ojibway nations. I was able to represent what I learned through a documentary after teaming up with Charlene Moore and the folks over at MTS’ Stories From Home program, which we appropriately titled Moccasin Stories.

As an educator, notably an English teacher, I found the concept behind moccasins incredibly relevant. Moccasins represent one’s journey in life — the footprints we leave behind. They also symbolically represent chapters in our life since, like all footwear, they don’t last forever. I also realized the power of understanding your own story, taking time to reflect on who you are, which goes in hand with understanding where you’re from, where you’re going, and discovering your purpose in life.

Indigenous Education Perspectives

It was an honour to speak at Fort Frances High School for Indigenous Education Week.

Coincidentally through personal projects and post-secondary studies I was exploring the concept of one’s story before I embarked on Moccasin Stories. I’d been developing a motivational style speech and presentation based off of my own life and some of the obstacles I’ve encountered. After speaking with elders and Indigenous leaders of education in the area, and after being presented some fabulous opportunities from my friends, I was able to secure some speaking engagements — most notably at Vincent Massey’s UNESCO conference and at Fort Frances High School’s Indigenous Education Week festivities. I was able to combine my own story with the stories of those documented in our film and preach its relevance to high school students.

Why do our stories matter?

Being able to tell and understand your story is pivotal to understanding who you are and your place in this world. It enables us to discover our purpose in life. Furthermore, understanding the people around you creates an environment of collaboration, empathy, and community.

Throughout my short time in the field of education, I often find educators who struggle to implement Indigenous perspectives into their classroom. Lately I’ve been referring to a class I recently took called Aboriginal Perspectives in Education. Our instructor had us introduce ourselves to our classmates based on the following parameters:

Who are you?
Where are you from?
Where are you going?
What is your purpose?

Each day we took an hour out of a two hour class to share. Honestly, the sentiment of most of the students at the time was that this was a waste and an easy mark. However, I found that the purpose of the exercise began to reveal itself as the course unfolded. We all took the class because we were interested in achieving one thing — integrating Indigenous Perspectives into the classroom. However, some people were at different stages in being able to do so. Some lacked knowledge on Indigenous issues. It amazed me that students in Canada, in 2017, were still unaware of residential schools, for example. Others came from religious backgrounds and grappled with what they thought were conflicting religious viewpoints and that they were suddenly now expected to teach another religion despite their own faith. Going through this exercise allowed us to understand where each of us were coming from which led to more productive discussions and learning.

Unbeknownst to many of my peers was that in the very act of going through this exercise they were engaging in an activity that exemplified Indigenous Perspectives and traditions. Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate enough to attend Indigenous gatherings, meetings, and events. Though I didn’t realize it at the time the participants often went through a similar exercise, stating who they were, where they are from, their purpose, and where they hoped they would be (or their communities/organizations would be) as a result of the gathering. In hindsight, I always thought it was time consuming practice. Now I understand why this is done. Creating this sense of community can only lead to solutions and resolutions that better represent the people involved.

Imagine doing this in a classroom. Not only teaching students how to share their story but giving students the opportunity to listen to others. We often talk about building relationships with students and differentiating the classroom in order to tailor learning to each student, however, I think we sometimes forget that in order for collaboration to happen in the classroom students need to know and understand each other just as much as the teacher does. I know peers who are already doing something along these lines with frequent sharing circles in their classroom or in after school programs. The results have been amazing in terms of engaging youth and building community.

This was the message I brought to students as I spoke in theatres and classrooms over the last couple of weeks. Students need to realize that their stories matter. What they do matters. And they need people to listen to them.

Fortunately I’ve been through a perfect storm of gathering knowledge over that last couple of years that has allowed me to not only come to this realization, but to develop a film, presentation, and classroom management techniques to employ it. I welcome you to get in touch if you’d like to chat about this further.

Maples Collegiate ASL #changethenarrative video

I recently helped out members of the Aboriginal Student Leadership group at Maples Collegiate during my teaching practicum with a video.

Tired of constantly facing abusive social media posts about Indigenous people the student group decided to tackle fight back by issuing a statement. Film and Video is a medium to express yourself, and in many cases is a powerful tool to get your point across.






Why We Play is now available on MTS Video on Demand


Bear in the Window Pictures is proud to announce that Why We Play is now available on VOD through MTS cable as part of MTS’ Stories From Home programming. Translation: If you live Manitoba, you can watch it if you have MTS cable by scrolling to the Stories From Home section. We’ll be rolling out wider distribution in August 2016.

Director’s Statement

I was introduced to touch football through friends of friends back in 2011. I was new to the city, and after spending the prior 4 years involved in coaching football or playing junior football after high school I was excited to get back to some form of the sport.

Then I was told of the game times. 1am in the morning. If you got lucky, you’d get a kickoff slot before midnight. Playing in the league tied up your weekend. It tested your fatigue. Despite the elements (keep in mind, I’m referring to the indoor portion of the league) thousands came out every season to play. We’re talking every skill set, from newcomer, to former tackle stars. If you wanted to play ball, there was a spot for you.

Being a filmmaker, I’m always looking for stories to tell. There wasn’t a shortage when it came to the players in the league, and how they fit playing touch football in their lives.

Lawson, plays the game at the age of 78, running with players in there twenties all summer long. He once told me that touch football kept his feet fresh for teaching line dancing. Jon Franklin, a Statistics Professor, once led a team to the national football championship at quarterback, despite not playing tackle in high school. For Marshall and Roxanna Cox, touch football offered a new way to compete and also make friends as they started a family.

Everyone has a different reason for playing touch football. In Why We Play, we see people continuing to enjoy competition at a time in their life when sports and being physically fit often becomes an afterthought.

The Boundless Campaign — Fort Frances

I had the great fortune of spending some time back in Fort Frances last summer helping out with the Fort Frances rebranding effort known as “Boundless.” The videos are being used by Fort Frances to promote the town to newcomers, whether they’re new residents, businesses, or tourists. The idea was to give everyone a taste of the town and to show them what makes Fort Frances different from the other communities in Northwest Ontario.

Andrew George NSI New Voices

NSI New Voices 2015 Alumni Day Visit

Yeah, the pic’s a little fuzzy, but it was taken quickly in the moment. Above is my attempt of getting NSI’s 2015 New Voices class in a semi-failed Ellen-selfie type of shot.

I visited the class during alumni day this week. Brought back old memories. You see, I was part of the 2013 New Voices class. The program is designed to get Aboriginal youth involved in the Winnipeg film and television industry.

It was nice to see other alumni talk about their current projects, and it was great to reflect and realize just how successful the project is. For Why We Playeveryone involved so far has either been through New Voices,  Aboriginal, or has taken a program through NSI. They’re probably dozens of projects worked on every year by New Voices grads.

Andrew George Documentary Filmmaking

Meet Lawson

A little over 50 years ago, Lawson helped his “normal” school (what they called the Faculty of Education back in the day) touch football teammates win a championship game.  He didn’t play football again until he was 67 years old. Now at 77 years old, he’s still going strong, which is evident by the below clip.

A little bit about the project

I started shooting what I’m currently calling “Why We Play”, a short documentary that features the PIT Football League in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this spring. The film is set to hit video on demand on MTS in Manitoba in 2016, and will be distributed internationally afterward.


Andrew George Filmmaker

Why We Play — Documentary coming in 2016!

Touch Football Documentary in Production

Why We Play follows a group of 3 touch football players during the summer season of touch football. You’re probably giggling at the notion of touch football at this point, however, unknown to many Winnipeg actually has the biggest touch football league in Canada (referred to as The PIT Football League). It’s also made up of a diverse set of players. Unlike the other elite leagues in Canada, who’s rosters are made up mainly of CIS and former professional athletes, in Winnipeg athletes range through all experience levels, ages, and genders. A few year’s back The Avengers showed Canada what touch football in Winnipeg looks like, capturing the National Championship crowd.