The Water of Life

It is a dark winter night in the early 1930s. A group of six Canadian bootleggers is attempting to smuggle whiskey into the United States where Prohibition is still in full effect. When they are spotted by border authorities, the men are forced to abandon their truckload of liquor and flee into the forest where they hole up in an abandoned cabin for the night. They sit together around a small crackling fire, sharing the one bottle of whiskey they have salvaged from the operation. To pass the hours, one by one, they tell their ancestral family stories. 

Usage
The Water of Life (English Trailer)  G. Scott MacLeod  on Vimeo.

Telling the untold stories of Canadian history

The Water of Life film series is the result of a four-year collaboration between award-winning Montreal visual artist and filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod, the National Film Board of Canada and internationally celebrated storyteller and writer Mike Burns.

Marrying MacLeod’s painterly animations with Burns’ spellbinding storytelling, the four short animated films in The Water of Life film series—The Abenaki – People of the Dawn, The Saga of Murdo MacLeod – and His First Contact with the Abenaki, The Irishman – Child of the Gael, and The French Canadian—tell dramatic early immigrant stories from three of Canada’s largest cultural communities as well as the heartbreaking tale of one of Canada’s indigenous peoples.

The Water of Life film series

It is a dark winter night in the early 1930s. A group of Canadian bootleggers is attempting to smuggle whiskey into the United States when they are spotted by border authorities. Forced to abandon their truckload of liquor and flee into the forest, they hole up in an abandoned cabin and, one by one, tell their ancestral family stories.

A collaboration between award-winning Montreal visual artist and filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod and internationally celebrated storyteller and writer Mike Burns, these richly detailed and deeply moving tales of personal struggle and survival, told by the Abenaki, Scottish, Irish and French members of the crew, make up the four compelling films in The Water of Life film series.

A collaboration between award-winning Montreal visual artist and filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod and internationally celebrated storyteller and writer Mike Burns, these richly detailed and deeply moving tales of personal struggle and survival, told by the Abenaki, Scottish, Irish and French members of the crew, make up the four compelling films in The Water of Life film series.


Languages: English and French

Running time: 60:47 Colour – 2015

16 x 9 Widescreen 1.78 :1

Dolby 5.1 & 2.0

Four films by G. Scott MacLeod

Written and narrated by Mike Burns

Direction and Animation G. Scott MacLeod

Editors Rebecca Arsenault, Phyllis Lewis and Rachelle Hamilton

Special effects animations Jo Meuris

Sound design Stacy Le Gallee

Line Producer G. Scott MacLeod

Original Score and music by Nathalie Picard, Robert Seven Crows, Ishbel MacAskill, Jonathan Moorman and Jeff McCarthy, Ruth Moody, Michel Faubert, Rob Lutes and Josephine Von Soukonnov.

The Abenaki – People of the Dawn

2013, 16 min 25 s. Animation. (English and French)

A dramatic retelling of the history of the Abenaki First Nation, its early experiences with colonialism and its continuing struggle for survival.

Usage
The Abenaki – People of the Dawn (English Trailer)  G. Scott MacLeod  on Vimeo.

C’est souvent dans les situations les plus périlleuses que l’identité se révèle. Dans L’Abénaki – Peuple de l’Aube , Joe Obomsawin, connaissant comme sa poche les moindres petits sentiers aux confins du Québec et de la Nouvelle-Angleterre, sauve de justesse unebande de contrebandiers sur le point d’être capturés.

Cette aventure sera le déclencheur du récit poignant de l’histoire de son peuple, que notre personnage vanous livrer avec la plus grande authenticité. Au fond d’une cabane isolée, bien pelotonné au coin du feu,Obomsawin retrace l’histoire tragique et saisissante du peuple abénaki, décimé par des siècles decolonialisme et réduitde 50 000 hommes, femmes et enfants à seulement 1500.

Une collaboration entre l’auteur et conteur Mike Burns et directeur G. Scott MacLeod dans le cadre de lasérie animée The Water of Life, Les Abénakis – Les gens de l’Aube fusionne crayon animation traditionnelleavec les nouveaux médias numériques pour raconter l’histoire poignante de la lutte d’un peuple poursurvie.

Un film de G. Scott MacLeod

Écrit et conté par Mike Burns

Narration Mike Burns

Réalisation et animation G. Scott MacLeod

Montage Rebecca Arsenault

Effets spéciaux numériques Jo Meuris

Conception et montage sonore Stacy LeGallee

Producteurs délégués Vuk Stojanovic/G. Scott MacLeod

Trame sonore originale Robert Seven-Crows et Nathalie Picard

The Saga of Murdo MacLeod and His First Contact with the Abenaki

2012, 16 min 24 s. Animation. (English and French)

An unlikely alliance with First Nations inhabitants saves a group of 19th century Scottish immigrants from certain death.

Usage
The Saga of Murdo MacLeod and His First Contact with the Abenaki (English Trailer)  G. Scott MacLeod  on Vimeo.

Within the huge diversity that is modern-day Canada, all non-aboriginal people share an immigrant history. For some, the stories are fresh. For many others, the struggles of distant ancestors have long been lost through the passage of time. In The Saga of Murdo Macleod, the first film in his animated series on Canadian history, from Mike Burns’ four published stories, The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009), Montreal filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod fuses rich pencil animation with new digital media to provide a deeply moving depiction of an iconic early Canadian immigrant experience.

Expelled from their land on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, Murdo MacLeod and his clan are given passage as ballast on a timber ship bound for Lower Canada. It is the late 1830s. Those who survive the voyage arrive in Quebec City with nothing more than axes in hand and speaking only Gaelic amongst the French and English population. Travelling on foot, they make their way to the region near Sherbrooke, ending up on Abenaki territory near Gould. There, with winter fast approaching, they find their only hope for survival in the hands of Canada’s first people.

Written and narrated by Burns, a celebrated Montreal storyteller, The Saga of Murdo Macleod reveals the history of millions of Canadians whose ancestors found freedom and opportunity only through great sacrifice and the compassion of unlikely allies.

A film by G. Scott MacLeod

Written by Mike Burns

Narration Mike Burns

Direction and Animation G. Scott MacLeod

Editor Phyllis Lewis

Special effects animations Randall Finnerty

Sound recordist by Julia Innes

Sound design Stacy LeGallee

Line Producer Vuk Stojanovic/G. Scott MacLeod

Original Score Jonathan Moorman and Jeff McCarthy

Musicians Jonathan Moorman, Jeff McCarthy, Ishbel MacAskill and Linda Morrison

The Irishman – Child of the Gael

2014, 20 min 07 s. Animation. (English and French)

In The Irishman – Child of the Gael, our narrator, Sean recounts his maternal and paternal ancestors’ dramatic immigrant experiences in Canada from the 1800s to the early 20th century.

Usage
The Irishman – Child of the Gael (English Trailer)  G. Scott MacLeod  on Vimeo.

In The Irishman – Child of the Gael, our narrator, Sean recounts his maternal and paternal ancestors’ dramatic immigrant experiences in Canada from the 1800s to the early 20th century. Fleeing desperate conditions in Ireland, survival in the new world is a struggle of a different sort, involving quarantine, isolation and backbreaking employment, building the Victoria Bridge, constructing the railways and canals that will open Canada’s frontiers to trade and settlement.

The third film in his animated series on Canadian history, from Mike Burns’ story collection, The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009), in The Irishman – Child of the Gael, Montreal filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod fuses rich pencil animation with new digital media to provide a deeply moving depiction of an iconic early Canadian immigrant experience.

Written and narrated by Burns, a celebrated Montreal storyteller, The Irishman – Child of the Gael is the story of thousands of Irish immigrants to this country who arrived to unthinkable conditions and who went on to build the very roads and railways that made prosperity possible.

Languages: English and French

Running time: 20:07 Colour – 2014

16 x 9 Widescreen 1.78 :1

Dolby 5.1 & 2.0

A film by G. Scott MacLeod

Written and narrated by Mike Burns

Direction and Animation G. Scott MacLeod

Editor Rachelle Hamilton

Special effects animations Jo Meuris

Sound design Stacy Le Gallee

Line Producer G. Scott MacLeod

Original Score Jonathan Moorman and Jeff McCarthy and Ruth Moody.

The French-Canadian

2015. 13 min. Animation. (English and French)

In The French-Canadian, our narrator Jean-Pierre, a bootlegger from Sherbrooke, recounts the tale of his ancestors’ arrival in New France in the 1640s. Chronicling their years as farmers on the Seigneuries, builders of the Trans-Canada Railroad and fighters in the Patriotes Rebellion, the film provides a moving portrayal of the quintessential immigrant experience of one of Canada’s founding peoples.

Usage
The French-Canadian (English Trailer)  G. Scott MacLeod  on Vimeo.

In The French-Canadian, our narrator Jean-Pierre, a bootlegger from Sherbrooke, recounts the tale of his ancestors’ arrival in New France in the 1640s. Chronicling their years as farmers on the Seigneuries, builders of the Trans-Canada Railroad and fighters in the Patriotes Rebellion, the film provides a moving portrayal of the quintessential immigrant experience of one of Canada’s founding peoples.

Marrying filmmaker G. Scott MacLeod’s painterly animations with storyteller Mike Burns’ rich narration, The French Canadian is the compelling fourth installment in MacLeod’s animated series on Canadian history, from Burns’ six published stories, The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009).

Languages: English and French Running time: 13:03 Colour – 2015 16 x 9 Widescreen 1.78 :1 Dolby 5.1 & 2.0

A film by G. Scott MacLeod

Written and narrated by Mike Burns

Direction and Animation G. Scott MacLeod

Editor Rachelle Hamilton

Special effects animations Jo Meuris

Sound design Stacy Le Gallee

Line Producer G. Scott MacLeod

Original Score Michèl Faubert, Rob Lute and Josephine Von Soukonov.

Coming in 2016-2017:

The Yankee

An American of “rambling blood” recounts the difficult winding path that lead him to his role driving a truck filled with bootleg whiskey.

The Englishman

Beaten down by both the stock market crash of 1929 and the tuberculosis epidemic of the 1930s, a dissolute Englishman tells the tale of his ancestor, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, who came to Quebec in the 1820s