Of course, our big news for this year is APTN’s February coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games as the world’s first Aboriginal official broadcaster. I’ll have more details about our coverage and schedule in next month’s column. For now, let’s see what January is bringing to APTN North.

What better way to spend the first day of the year than cozied up in the comfort of your home watching APTN’s annual New Year’s Day movie marathon. We’ll feature the APTN premieres of Pushing Tin and The Sandlot, rounded out with Speed, Christmas in the Clouds and Call of the Wild.

But the movies don’t stop there. For the entire month of January, we’ll bring you a movie every day of the week as part of our Mega Movie Mania promotion. Watch for all-star blockbusters including Any Given Sunday, The Replacements, A Few Good Men, Under Siege, The Matrix, Wild Bill and more.

Entertainment Tidbit #1: Aboriginal-produced Hollywood films are few, so we try to feature the indigenous artists involved in these movies. For example, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Tommy Lee Jones and Val Kilmer – actors often featured in APTN movies – are all of Native American heritage.

They were two of APTN’s most talked-about shows and they’re both re-airing during January. If you missed Blackstone, the first time around, you’re going to want to mark Jan. 10 on your calendar (9:30 p.m. on APTN and 7 p.m. on APTN HD).

Almost 10 years in the making, this APTN pilot is a raw inside look behind the veil of power and politics on a fictional Indian reserve. It tells the story of a community suffering disintegration by its own hand – a result of the corruption, mismanagement and nepotism of its chief and councillors – and the parallel complicity of the silent band members.

Somewhat less controversial, yet just as mesmerizing, is The Time Traveler. Billed as a science-fiction, suspense drama, The Time Traveler chronicles the story of a young woman, who, in an effort to save her dying world, time-travels from the year 3012 to Toronto 2009 where she enlists the help of a young Aboriginal man. Sci-fi junkies will love the Dr. Who-inspired feel of this one-hour pilot re-airing Jan. 17 at 9:30 p.m.

Music aficionados and fans of the APTN series Rez Bluez will be happy to see the network’s premiere of Rez Tunez, a one-hour series packed with “live” performances in a variety of musical genres interspersed with rib-tickling comedy appearances and informative interviews with the artists.

Hosted by Raven Kanatakta and Shoshana Kish, the founders and lead performers of the band Digging Roots, Rez Tunez premieres Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. local time on APTN HD and on Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m. on APTN North.

Entertainment Tidbit #2: One of the stars of Blackstone, Eric Schweig is best known for his portrayal of Uncas in the blockbuster movie, The Last of the Mohicans (1992). With more than 30 screen credits to his name, Schweig more recently has played the lead role in films addressing more-contemporary issues facing Aboriginal and Native American people: Skins (2002), Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story (2003) and One Dead Indian (2006).

Next month: watch for APTN’s coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Make sure to log on to www.aptn.ca to see our full Northern schedule and more information on current programming and initiatives, contests and memberships.