June 4, 2018

PREVIEW: APTN’S QUEEN OF THE OIL PATCH IS THE STORY OF TRIUMPH AND ACCEPTANCE

Greg David/ TV Eh?

Until a screener landed in my inbox, I wasn’t sure what Queen of the Oil Patch was going to be about. According to the press release, the documentary series, debuting Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET on APTN, tells the tale of Fort McKay resident Massey Whiteknife and his alter ego, Iceis Rain. Whiteknife’s business empire was shattered when oil prices took a tumble followed by fire sweeping through nearby Fort MacMurray. Cameras capture Whiteknife as he attempts to get back on his economic feet.

But Queen of the Oil Patch is so much more than that.

When we catch up with Whiteknife, he shows off his two businesses in Fort Mac, Tatonka North Contracting, a construction company and Iceis Safety, a full-service occupational health and safety consulting business. But at night, Whiteknife becomes someone else … Iceis Rain. Iceis is a critically-acclaimed recording artist, booking dates across the country, and was nominated at the 2014 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, where she also performed. She’s also an anti-bullying advocate, speaks to suicide prevention and has a wicked wiggle.

Whiteknife’s plan? To spend a year transitioning fully into Iceis Rain. How will that go over in Fort Mac? Will being a woman ruin his day-to-day business? Whiteknife is willing to take that chance to be who he is.

Kah-Kitowak Films, a Vancouver-based production company that works in partnership with Great Pacific Media, has captured something really special in Queen of the Oil Patch. Métis producer-director Neil Grahn and producers Kelly McClughan and Mark Miller have gained the trust of their subject. The result is an intimate, honest portrait of a person who is passionate about what they do and wants to help their fellow First Nations people find full-time jobs while becoming who they truly want to be.

It’s inspiring, meaningful and riveting stuff. Don’t miss it.

Queen of the Oil Patch airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on APTN.