With the aim to invest in the careers of Indigenous creators, STORYHIVE has launched its first-ever Indigenous Storyteller Edition.
STORYHIVE is looking for Indigenous creators from Red Deer and the region to submit their short film ideas which can include a comedy, drama, animation, web series, pilot or documentary between three to 10 minutes long.
“It’s such a thrill to support storytellers everyday,” said Megan Lau, manager of communications, engagement and equity at TELUS, which supports the work and mission of STORYHIVE.
As for the Indigenous Storyteller Edition, Lau said a few things had happened that contributed to the idea for the project including how the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be addressed for one.
“There was a massive report that came out from the Canadian Media Fund and there’s the work that imagineNATIVE has been doing for the last 19 years, so that was sort of the environment that we were in,” she explained, reflecting on the beginnings of the project.
“We also met Nicky Sanchez at a conference, and we had a conversation about doing an audit of her programs to better understand how we could serve Indigenous storytellers,” she said, adding that subsequent research included chatting with folks who were alumni of the STORYHIVE program.
“People told us they wanted an edition that was specifically dedicated to Indigenous storytellers. We have done projects like this before – we had a Female Storyteller Edition that radically transformed our program,” explained Lau, pointing out that since that time, staff have seen more women sign onto the program.
“So this was something that we were really excited to do.”
Since 2013, STORYHIVE has provided space for creators and screen-based storytellers to hone their skills, take risks and bring the projects they care about to life.
STORYHIVE has funded productions, supported filmmakers with mentorship and support from the National Screen Institute and brought hundreds of films to life online and around the world, notes the web site.
“Our goal is to celebrate your ideas and development with funding, distribution and support from TELUS to help B.C. and Alberta creators move their career goals ahead.”
Ultimately, 20 recipients will receive $20,000 in production funding, as well as mentorship and training. The 20 successful projects will be selected by an all-Indigenous jury.
This marks one of the first times in Canada that a jury of this composition are greenlighting all Indigenous-led projects.
Meanwhile, submissions will be taken until Dec. 4th.
“It’s not really a formal proposal – it’s a 60-second pitch video,” she explained. “One of the great things about our program is that we provide training and mentorship along the way.
So it’s fine if you are a beginner, or you are more established and you want to do something a bit more daring.
“We are able to facilitate all of those experiences.”
The awarded projects will be announced on Jan. 24th with the finished projects revealed later in 2019.
Lau added that part of what makes STORYHIVE so vital is that it opens the door to storytellers who may not have the chance to explore these types of opportunities otherwise, particularly by not living in a bigger centre like Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton.
“For some folks, this has also completely kick-started their careers,” she said. “There is nothing like this that exists in western Canada,” she added. “We’re not even sure if there is anything like this in all of Canada where there is an all-Indigenous jury funding Indigenous storytellers,” she said. “We are really humbled by this experience.
“We’ve also been learning about different modes and paradigms of storytelling and production, too. There are so many stories that just haven’t been told yet so we are feeling like there is going to be so much innovation and creativity that comes out of this.”
For more information, check out www.storyhive.com.