Loretta Todd’s Indigenous viewpoint powers sci-fi thriller

Loretta Todd grew up in a television era of science fiction where giant ants or Godzilla tried to take over the world.

Godzilla still attempts to take over the world today on the large screen.

On the small screen, Todd created a new world with Skye and Chang, a crime-fighting sci-fi buddy team’s battle for humanity.

The award-winning pilot’s prime time broadcast premiered on May 20 on APTN.

Sera-Lys McArthur (Arctic Air) stars as Skye Daniel with Olivia Cheng (Supernatural) as Emily Chang.

Todd created, produced, wrote, and directed the pilot with hopes that the series will get picked up by APTN.

The pilot won the Best Short Live Feature award at last year’s American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Black and white science fiction movies fascinated Todd who wanted to write about the effects of humanity’s greed and technological development on earth.

“If you keep polluting and damaging the earth, there’s going to be consequences,” said Todd. “As an Aboriginal person, it spoke to me. Yes, there are consequences to rampant greed. It’s going to have an effect on someone somewhere.”

She liked watching martial arts films like Bruce Lee movies in which she appreciated the values of loyalty and family. She noticed how often the stories revolved around loyalty betrayed.

Todd gave Skye the power to time slip which gives her the ability to pick up what has just been said in a room. It scares her as she can’t really control it.

“When you think about it in an Indigenous way, the past, the present, and the future all co-exist. There’s not divisions between them,” said Todd about Skye’s time slips.

The young boy, O’Ryan, can see into Skye’s time slips. He draws on paper what he sees in her mind.

Todd grounds the show from an Indigenous perspective with graffiti on Vancouver buildings, dialogue, and beliefs.

For her role as owner of a dojo, McArthur studied kung fu and Indigenous martial arts created from Cree styles of combat.

The McArthur and Cheng team convey values for Todd.

“One of the things at the core of the show is a value I try to live my life by. The idea is not to give away your power,” said Todd.

Skye and Chang own their power.

“A concept for the series is that the reason they help the community is to try to encourage people to help themselves.

“There are many ways that this society is designed to have us forfeit our power, our freedom, and to fall in lock step with whatever the prevailing ideology is that we’re supposed to follow. As Aboriginal people we’ve resisted that,” said Todd.

Skye and Chang is a utopian look at a world in which an alien presence is trying to dominate Earth.

Look for the Skye and Chang pilot to stream on APTN.

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