Maggie Siggins is the vice president, creative of 4 Square Entertainment Limited. Based in Regina, Saskatchewan, this is an innovative film and video production company, unique in the business for the diversity and strength of its creative personnel. 4 Square has won awards for many of its films. Its home page is www.4square.ca
A CRUEL WIND BLOWS & SILENT BOMBS: ALL FOR THE MOTHERLAND
The disease is not leprosy but the afflicted are the lepers of the nuclear age. In the remote region of Semipalatinsk in north-eastern Kazakhstan live the victims of 456 Soviet nuclear explosions carried out from 1949 through 1989. Our feature documentary will finally tell this unknown story of neglect, horror and survival.
Biological weapons have been around since prehistoric man dipped his spear into a rotten animal carcass and hurled it at his enemies. But it was only in the 20th century they became the deadly menace they are today. In a new one-hour documentary Four Square Entertainment examines the incredible story of germ weaponry. The film looks at the history of bio weapons from the Japanese terrorizing Chinese citizens by dropping lethal germ bombs during World War 11 to the unbelievably virulent new strains of pathogens created by Soviet scientists during the 1970s and 80s. Today the new danger is terrorism either by an individual – a rogue scientist sending anthrax in the mail – or a group -Al Qaeda’s plans to spread small pox. As one expert said, “it’s not if a terrorist will attack with bioweapons but when.”
Medicine Woman is a 13-part series which follows the quest of Daniele Behn, a young, indigenous medical doctor as she travelled to six continents. Her goal was to find the secret and effective medical remedies used by aboriginal people in North and South America, Africa, Australia, Europe and India. From the common cold to can to sexual impotence – she sought out unusual cures for all that ails us. This is a co-production between Visionquest Entertainment International of Australia and 4 Square Productions.
OUR SIGNATURE SERIES: SCARRED BY HISTORY
Scarred by History, a co-production between 4 Square Productions and Novyy Kanal in Ukraine, is a hard-edged documentary about a Ukrainian family. The story of this family is the story of modern Ukraine. Broadcast in Ukraine and in Canada in early 1999, it was a finalist in the “Best Historical Documentary” category at Toronto’s 1999 International Hot Docs Film Festival. Scarred, now titledUnhealed Wounds, has become the pilot episode in a series for History Television.
Episode two, Nanjing Nightmares, is a co-production with Jiangsu TV (China). This film tells the story of the Japanese Rape of Nanjing in 1937-38 and its effects on one Chinese-Canadian family through three generations. Broadcast in China and Canada, Nanjing Nightmares was nominated for awards at the Yorkton Film Festival and SMPIA Showcase.
Episode three is Paradise Lost, a story of the holocaust shot in Canada and Hungary. Based on the book Journey to Vaja by Elaine Kalman Naves, the viewer follows the triumphs and tragedies of one Jewish family in Hungary over a 150 year period.
Episode four, Among the Disappeared, is a Canada-Singapore co-production. We follow young Canadian-Cambodian Kodaim Ear as he searches Cambodia for a photograph of his father, who died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge during Pol Pot’s genocidal rule.
Episode five, Out from Underground, tells the thrilling and tragic story of Zygmund Sikora, a former fighter in the Polish Underground during World War Two. We follow Zygmund as he re-lives his adventures including the assassination of a collaborator and his daring escape from post-war communist Poland.
Episode six, End of Empire, is a Canada-Singapore co-production, which re-creates the story of Alexander Cockburn, who as a young man spent the Second World War as a Japanese-held POW under horrific conditions in the notorious Japanese Changi prison in Singapore. Decades later, he journeys back to revisit the place of his imprisonment. He re-lives the fall of Singapore, the beginning of the end of the British Empire.
Episode 7, Wars Against the Roma. Members of one family recount their travels to Canada from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to avoid discrimination. This is the terrible yet uplifting story of the Roma people (Gypsies) around the world.
Episode 8, Pierre le Canadien, tells the fascinating story of Peter Dmytruk, a WW II tail gunner from Wynyard, Saskatchewan who, after being shot down over France in 1943 became a member of the French Resistance. Nicknamed ‘Pierre le Canadien’ by his fellow Resistance fighters, he died a hero’s death fighting the Nazis. This film was produced in French and English and was broadcast on CBC, SRC, SCN and CLT.
UNDER THE SKIN: DRUGS, DREAMS AND DEMONS
Under the Skin is a gritty, cinéma vérité treatment of one family of drug abusers and a dealer. The film follows this group for several months revealing the dim reality of the “beautiful little city of Regina.” Since its broadcast on SCN and CBC Newsworld in March 2006, it has received accolades from across the country. This film won the Golden Sheaf Award in the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival for Best of Saskatchewan – May 2006.
Twin Stars, our first co-production, charts the twin journeys of Canadian actor Tom Rooney and Chinese star Song Li as they cross the oceans and explore each other’s cultures. Set in Saskatchewan and Jilin, China, Twin Stars is a refreshing variety program with just a dash of fantasy. It has been broadcast throughout China and Canada.
GERHARD THE TUBA
Gerhard the Tuba, a whimsical documentary about the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference held in Regina, Saskatchewan tells this story from the perspective of a well-travelled tuba, Gerhard. This was shot in English and Russian and was broadcast by SCN and Omni Television.
Sister Kay chronicles the extraordinary life of Sister Kay MacDonald, who rose to be the most senior female in the Roman Catholic Church. She played a fundamental role in changing the Church’s relationship, doctrine and attitude towards Jews. This co-production with the National Film Board of Canada has been broadcast on CTV, TFO and SCN and in Israel.
SEARCHING FOR CONFUCIUS
Searching for Confucius is an original examination of the life and legacy of the great Chinese philosopher as seen through the eyes of Canadian-Chinese author Wayson Choy. Licensed in Canada by Vision TV, SCN, and Omni TV, this film is produced in English and Chinese. “Confucius” is the pilot episode of our Big Thinkers series, which will feature the men and women who changed the way we view the world such as Copernicus, Sappho and Rabindranath Tagore.
STAGE, SCREEN AND RESERVE: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GORDON TOOTOOSIS
Stage, Screen and Reserve tells the story of Gordon Tootoosis, one of Canada’s most prominent actors and an ardent advocate of aboriginal rights. We see him as he is abused in a residential school, as he becomes a First Nations activist, as he achieves international renown as an actor in such films as Legends of the Fall and in such television series as North of 60. The program has been broadcast on CBC, APTN and SCN. Tootoosis won the best film award at the Fargo Film Festival in 2004.
A CHURCH IN TWO WORLDS
A Church in Two Worlds explores the remarkable story of the survival of the Ukrainian Catholic Church from the 16th century to the present, in Eastern Europe and in Canada. This program has been broadcast on Vision TV and on SCN.
NETTIE WIEBE: A PASSIONATE VOICE FOR THE FARMER
Nettie Wiebe: A Passionate Voice for the Farmer is a true life story of this committed activist from Saskatchewan. Inspired by her Mennonite upbringing, Wiebe has struggled tirelessly for the rights of farmers all over the world. An activist, a politician and a professor, her story ranges from her home province of Saskatchewan to Mexico and Nicaragua.
REVENGE OF THE LAND
Revenge of the Land is a four-hour dramatic mini-series based upon the award-winning book by 4 Square vice-president and chief scriptwriter, Maggie Siggins. A co-production with CINAR Inc. in Montreal and Zukerman Productions in Toronto, this film was shot in Saskatchewan and Quebec and was broadcast on CBC and CBS.
Water, Water is a three-part series that exposes today’s growing water crisis around the world. We travel from the deserts of Africa to the far west of China, to the south west of the United States and to the rain forests of British Columbia with award-winning author Marq de Villiers. What is water? Why is it so important to us? And what can we do to ensure that our water supply is clean and plentiful? Four Square Productions and Marq de Villiers bring you the answers in this stunning film. The series was broadcast on Discovery Channel Canada and will be broadcast on SCN in Saskatchewan. It is being marketed around the world. It won the best Scientific/Technical/Environmental/Adventure film award at Showcase Saskatchewan 2005. At the same festival it won the best editing award.
Horacio Mandevo is on a mission to save his native country of Mozambique. Not from war, or economic troubles, or environmental disaster – but disease. Renewal charts the course of Horacio’s life and follows his Canadian-Mozambican odyssey. What the program highlights is the toils and triumphs of a Canadian International Development Agency project, Health Renewal, which is working valiantly, with both Canadians and Mozambicans to improve the desperate situation of health care in Mozambique. We follow Mozambicans and their Canadian friends as they train health care workers. This has been broadcast on SRC (CBC French), SCN and CLT in Canada.