Looking Forward

As First Nations TV drama Blackstone gets set to start its final season, its creator is looking ahead to the next challenge.

Blackstone executive producer Ron E. Scott.

Ron E. Scott isn’t mourning the end of Blackstone so much as he’s looking ahead with optimism to new opportunities. The fifth and final season of Blackstone, a serial drama that focuses on the residents of the Blackstone First Nation as they work to build better lives and a stronger community, premieres on APTN on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 10 p.m.

But even as the series draws to a close, Scott – who serves as executive producer, writer and director on the series – is looking at this as a time of new beginnings.

“Looking back over the past five seasons, there have been so many great moments. I’m just so thankful to have been able to do it. It’s a small miracle that we went for five seasons,” he said during a break from post-production work last week.

“There is a real feeling of optimism,” he added. “There are a lot of things to offer in this city, and I’m really looking forward to the next adventure.”

Scott and APTN mutually came to the decision that this season would be Blackstone‘s last, giving him the chance to wrap things up nicely – a luxury many TV series aren’t afforded.

“It’s great to have that closure. To shape the whole season with that in mind is a great thing, and not all shows get to do that,” he said.

All five seasons of Blackstone were shot in Edmonton. Scott said he feels it showed to the rest of the world in a positive light, and that the temptation to move production to a bigger centre, like Toronto or Vancouver, was never really there.

“My family’s here, and if you want the creator of the show to create the show, he kind of gets to make those choices,” he said with a laugh. “I love Toronto, and I lived in Vancouver for six years; I went to film school there, so it’s not like I don’t know Vancouver as well. But it’s just the big, open spaces … the show’s geography and topography plays into the whole resonance of that story world.”

Blackstone also airs on digital streaming service Hulu in the United States, on Maori Television in New Zealand and on SBS/NITV in Australia.

Prior to Blackstone, Scott worked on a sitcom called Mixed Blessings for three years that was also shot in Edmonton. Through both shows, he has become familiar with many people who work in the film industry in Edmonton, both crew and actors.

“It was a crazy ride. I think we’ve all learned stuff and been able to take things from Blackstone that are going to help our careers,” he said.

And he prides himself on the fact that his show has created opportunities for young First Nations actors.

“We’ve facilitated, this past season, probably over 20 First Nations actors and, over the years, I think the number is close to 100,” said Scott, himself half-Cree.

The final season of Blackstone consists of eight one-hour episodes, and will wrap up with the series finale on Dec. 22.

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