Arm Nation films Deb Fiddler reffing Harleigh Marchant and Bobbi Haugen
Friday, April 19, 2018 – Arm Nation, a 13 x half hour documentary series that will premiere on APTN in the autumn of 2018, follows the training, competitions and life challenges of Indigenous men and women who ‘pull’ in the fast growing international sport of armwrestling.
Filming took place over six months in 2017, culminating at the Canadian Armwrestling Championships. The stories captured are diverse: from a former strong man competitor trying to succeed in this new very different sport, to a mother of five bringing her love of arm wrestling to her Reserve, to a top athlete recovering from a devastating arm injury, as another arm wrestler struggles to get back to the table after two years away battling cancer. The sixteen First Nations and Métis athletes range in age from 21-54, spanning as far west as Prince George and Penticton, British Columbia, as far east as Eskasoni, Nova Scotia and to the north in Mistissini, Quebec.
Each shoot has been an adventure, whether it’s following someone in daily life or at the competition table. “Arm wrestling is such an exciting sport. It can be over in less than a second, or it can be a 2 minute long epic battle of competitors facing off eye to eye”, says series co-producer Maureen Marovitch. “It’s not just about brute strength. There is a lot of tactical planning and strategic thinking involved, too”, says series co-producer David Finch.
Says Marovitch. “And often what happens off the table- with their families, their day jobs, coping with - injuries - is as gripping as what happens in competition.”
Each episode follows the often interconnected stories of two arm wrestlers. Some of those featured are well known in the arm wrestling community: the One Armed Bandit Vern Martel, Deb Fiddler and Frank Nuyens have all been competing for decades. There are also the dramatic stories of fast rising newcomers like Ontario’s young Brenden Lemmon-Mulvihill, trash talker Evan “Bad Company” Bourgoin, provincial champion Brittany Sutherland and ultra-focused Natasha Batt. Stars in the international scene like Devon Larratt, Heidi Cordner, Mike Gould and Josee Morneau also appear in some episodes, often as mentors but sometimes as opponents to our main characters. The last three episodes of the series will focus on those aiming for gold at Canada’s annual national competition.
World champion puller Devon Larratt and renowned east coast arm wrestler Trevor Sanipass acted as consultants on the series. Trevor Sanipass was the initial spark for the show; he brought the idea of doing an arm wrestling reality competition series to Picture This Productions, an idea that eventually grew into Arm Nation!
Arm Nation is produced for APTN (The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) by Picture This Productions, a Montreal-based documentary production company. Picture This previously produced the 6 part APTN documentary series “Watchers of the North”, and award-winning documentaries When Two Won’t Do (TVO), Longshots (CBC ), Jay Silverheels: The Man Beside the Mask (History Television), and The Invisible Red Thread (OMNI TV).
APTN will be broadcast in 13 x 30-minute HD episodes in 2018. More information on the series can be found at: facebook.com/Armnationtv and www.picturethis.ca
Tel: (514) 484-1145
Arm Nation films Bobbi Haugen and Deb Fiddler pulling, Harleigh Marchant coaches.
Natasha Batt and Patrina Brooks filmed during an Arm Melter tournament
Arm Nation crew captures James Bourgoin pulling, Evan Bourgoin as ref
Ruben Santiesteban and Natasha Batt, Chicago WAL May 13 2017