About the Film


Set against the backdrop of Manitoba’s rugged boreal forest, “A Life on the Line” explores one of Canada’s oldest professions–fur trapping.

Sam Karney is a Metis filmmaker who grew up in a small western Manitoba town. Like many young people he left and moved to the city to get educated and find a career. One of the things he left behind was his father’s trapline and all the knowledge that comes with it.

Chuck Karney is Sam’s father and a fur trapper with over 20 years of experience. Though not indigenous himself, he has spent the better part of his life living a very traditional life – even marrying a Metis woman. Growing up, Sam had almost no interest in trapping or most things his father tried to teach him. But after a decade of living in cities, Sam felt drawn back to the wilderness and in particular, his father’s trapline.

“A Life on the Line” is a story of a young man returning to a life he turned his back on. Throughout the 2016-2017 trapping season, Sam spends time with his father, learning what it takes to run a trapline. From bone chilling cold to the gruesome realities of the job, Sam is hands on, learning and occasionally failing. Often humorous and occasionally heartwarming, the film shows a father’s desire to teach his son a dying way of life and to continue on when he no longer can.

Fur trapping has been an important part of Canadian history and served as a way of survival for Canada’s first people long before European contact. “A Life on the Line” shows that even though Canada has largely forgotten about the fur trade, there are still dedicated men and women preserving this way of life and passing it down to the next generation.

 

Director
Sam Karney

Producer
Andrew Wiens

Producer
Jérémie Wookey

Executive Producer
Janelle Wookey

Director of Photography
Rudy Gauer

Trapline Map


Click on one of the points below to view a “Bushcraft with Chuck” video and then take the quiz and test your bush know-how!

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Quiz


Quiz 1

Filmmakers


Andrew Wiens

Producer

In grade two Andrew was asked to write a one-page story for English class. He came back with a 10-page epic tale of survival involving himself riding to safety triumphantly on the back of a polar bear through a blinding snowstorm.

Now that he’s supposed to be grown-up, his travels have lead him from Churchill, MB (where he encountered real life polar bears) to Nairobi, Kenya (where he encountered real life lions). Clearly he hasn’t changed all that much.

As a co-founder of Ice River Films, he’s written and directed for various broadcasters, including Global TV, CBC and MTS. He’s also worked on shows for Smithsonian, APTN and Bloomberg TV and had the chance to work with some awesome organizations like Habitat for Humanity, DASCH, The Dufresne Group and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Always digging deeper, he has a knack for getting to the heart of a story, connecting to its essence – the juicy stuff that truly matters to the human condition. A writer, director, musician, cameraman and editor, Andrew is compelled to create and collaborate along his perpetual quest to work with the most amazing people he can.

Sam Karney

Director

Once described as a rural intellectual by a non-credible source, Sam Karney is a filmmaker who seeks to show the beauty in the mundane; the imperfection in the near-perfect.

Born in the prairies on the edge of the boreal forest, Sam grew up with the wilderness and the natural world all around him and through this immersion, he gravitates towards creating content that sees him travel to new places and explore the beauty around him.

With years spent in newsrooms, Sam brings a unique “real-world” feel to his work that combines the beauty of cinema with the gritty realness of current events and documentary. When not slinging a camera, he enjoys playing some blues guitar and drinking the finest pilsners in the land.

Sam’s travels have seen him shoot content for Smithsonian TV, APTN, Bloomberg TV, Al Jazeera, and numerous others.

He currently has a fascination with pre Second World War political history, and spends his time wishing he had a dog to walk. Also, he is in the market for a new hobby– suggestions are welcome.

Janelle Wookey

Producer

Janelle has been picturing doing what she does today since she was 5 years old. Her curiosity and unique sense of wonder are what drive her most as a storyteller. Since launching Wookey Films, she’s had the opportunity to develop her ‘left-brain’ and now actually cherish the hours she gets to spend on Microsoft Excel. Her love of entertaining audiences is fulfilled both through her work as a content producer and through living room performances of lip-synced Barbra Streisand show tunes.

Jérémie Wookey

Producer

Jérémie’s artistic intuition & technical skills have been central in the conception and continued growth of Wookey Films. His unique blend of modesty and ambition help keep his team both focused and inspired. Jeremie is passionate about developing authentic, smart and fresh content that connects with audiences from coast to coast. He is a proud graduate of Red River College’s the Creative Communications and the University of St.Boniface.

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