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A Life on the Line

Project Overview

APTN – Documentary

45 minutes, 2017


Set against the backdrop of Manitoba’s rugged boreal forest, “A Life on the Line” explores one of Canada’s oldest professions – fur trapping. “A Life on the Line” is the story of a young Métis man's journey to connect with his father on a Manitoba trapline.


For award-winning filmmaker Sam Karney, being Metis wasn’t something he thought much about while growing up. His mother rarely spoke of her Metis background. In an odd twist, his father Chuck, a Ukrainian, lived a lifestyle much more reminiscent of the traditional Metis life, immersed in the outdoors as a trapper in the Duck Mountains of Western Manitoba. "A Life on the Line" delves deep into the lifestyle, history, and culture of the Metis people and explores the relationship between a father who earns his living with his hands and a son who earns a living telling stories. Throughout the 2016-2017 trapping season, Sam spends time with his father learning what it takes to run a trapline. From bone-chilling cold to the gruesome realities of the job, Sam works hands-on, learning and occasionally failing. Often humorous and occasionally heartwarming, the film shows a father’s desire to teach his son a dying way of life.


In "A Life on the Line," Sam and Chuck embark on a journey that goes beyond work while showcasing the universal complexities of both the father-son dynamic and the claiming of one’s cultural identity.

-A Life on the Line- Trailer

  • Director
    Sam Karney
  • Writers / Editors
    Sam Karney & Andrew Wiens
  • Director of Photography
    Rudy Gauer
  • Executive Producers / Script Editors
    Janelle & Jérémie Wookey
  • Producer
    Andrew Wiens
  • Production Manager
    Janelle Wookey
  • Researcher / Production Coordinator
    Marlène Desaulniers-Bernard
  • Production Assistant / Assistant Editor
    Trevor Hnatowich
  • Post-Production Supervisor
    Jérémie Wookey