Video Series Sheds Light on Indie Side of Alaska

BY Mike Fritz  September 18, 2013 at 4:10 PM EDT

Alaska Public Media’s video series Indie Alaska is about wanting to tell the state’s stories in a different way, its creator says.

Ice divers, cross dressers, high school performers and hangliders take center stage in Indie Alaska, a video series created by Alaska Public Media in partnership with PBS Digital Studios. Pat Yack, Alaska Public Media’s chief content officer, said many of the stories about Alaska weren’t about the Alaska they knew. So they set out to change that. Once a week, the audience is introduced to a new character who offers a unique perspective on America’s “Last Frontier.”

“Alaska is kind of a blue collar state,” said ice diver Bill Streever in the trailer for the series. “For some people that translates into a redneck state: snow machines, guns and beer, but that’s not the full truth,”

Alaska’s full truth is elusive, Yack said, and it’s something his team is striving to tap into by letting characters tell their own stories in their own words, without narration.

Indie Alaska is aiming to produce 52 pieces in all and thus far they have profiled a musk ox farmer, a cross dresser, a hooligan fisherman and many other offbeat Alaskans.

“It’s a phenomenal place to come up here…and be the person that you’ve always wanted to be,” Yack said.

Indie Alaska airs every Friday afternoon on Alaska Public Media.