KIN: The series representing Queer Indigenous youth
If you’re looking for a TV series with a realistic representation of Queer Indigenous youth culture, look no further than KIN. Directed and co-written by Justin Ducharme and Arielle Twist, and produced by Jas Morgan’s Sewing Circle Productions, the series is said to be an honest and comedic exploration of the urban queer and trans Indigenous experience.
The story centers around a group of friends, exploring themes of love, family, identity and community. Using engaging storytelling methods, KIN accurately portrays the complexities associated with the experiences of Indigenous queer and trans identifying people, while skillfully incorporating the role of social media in each character’s life to show its impact on their journeys.
What truly sets KIN apart is its commitment to authenticity, reflected in its all-Indigenous-identifying cast and crew. This ensures the narrative is not only compelling but also resonates with the lived experiences of those it seeks to portray.
Director of KIN, Justin Ducharme, says the initial idea behind the series came from the creators wanting to see more authentic representation of their communities on screen. “I think with the intersections of our identities, being queer and Indigenous, there has been a lot of media about our communities that is made without us in control of the narrative or sometimes without us involved at all,” he said.
When the creators came together, Ducharme says, “We were really thinking about the TV shows we all watch now that capture this contemporary slice of life energy with a balance of comedy and drama, so we really wanted to bring something like that forward for queer Indigenous audiences.”
The show provides a unique and compelling perspective on the lives of Indigenous queer and trans people and the complexities they face throughout the life cycles of adulthood.
“The themes and ideas around KIN come directly from all our lived experiences as queer, urban Indigenous people so I hope audiences can see and understand the importance and strength of storytelling from lived experience, especially for Indigenous communities.”
Having relatable character arcs played an important role in KIN. “I think what sets us apart is our story’s steady balance of the comedy and the drama, the light and the dark, the good and the bad. We really tried to create characters that felt like complex and real individuals who people in our communities might be able to relate too.”
Justin Ducharme is a writer, filmmaker and curator from the Métis community of St. Ambroise, Manitoba – Treaty 1 Territory. “Individually I think this was one of the first collaborative writing projects any of us had taken on, at least of this scope, so capturing our individual voices while also creating a world that felt tangible and rooted in reality was really important to us.”
The depth and uniqueness of the characters is also explored through their social media usage. Since the narrative takes place in a contemporary setting, Ducharme says social media needed to play a large part in how these characters move through the world. “There is such a huge presence of Indigenous people on social media apps, whether it be Native Facebook or Twitter, these websites are very much a part of our communities and inform the way we all communicate and exist,” he added.
It is no surprise these contemporary themes are taken well. Feedback has been a telling sign of the series’ success. Ducharme says, “people on socials have really been loving it, we’ve had a lot of messages especially about the music! Our premiere at ImagineNative was really well received from audiences at the festival so we’re stoked to continue sharing the show in the future.”
You can keep up to date with the series and find information about upcoming screenings on Instagram at @kin.series.
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