CBC New Indigenous Voices graduating class of 2018 talk about the course and what they learned

Presented by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)

Above top row from left: Ursula Lawson (program manager), Kaya Wheeler (associate manager), Daniel Bear, Adeline Bird, Damian Frazee; bottom row: Rhonda Lucy, Jon Berg, Cynthia Murdock, Diandre Thomas-Hart, Shauntelle George, Joe Courchene

Above top row from left: Ursula Lawson (program manager), Kaya Wheeler (associate manager), Daniel Bear, Adeline Bird, Damian Frazee; bottom row: Rhonda Lucy, Jon Berg, Cynthia Murdock, Diandre Thomas-Hart, Shauntelle George, Joe Courchene

Our CBC New Indigenous Voices 2018 students complete training this week after 14 weeks of workshops, film production and internships. Below they tell us how they’re feeling as graduation approaches.

Daniel Bear

Daniel Bear (Winnipeg)

Looking back at my time at NSI, I feel even better than when I started. I have learned things which I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else or, if I did, it would take years of training.

From the amazing people who came to teach us to the fantastic mentors who helped us create our films, the whole program was phenomenal.

CBC New Indigenous Voices met every one of my expectations and more. Not only did I learn everything I need to start working in my desired field but I found a new passion thanks to NSI and my film mentor, Andrew Forbes, and for that I am extremely grateful.

One of the many beauties of this program is the education you receive. I learned, through my internship on Burden of Truth season 2, exactly what it means to be a director on a large-scale production and the importance of the arts department – the department I had the honour of working in.

From here on I will continue to pursue directing – that passion only grew stronger – but my love for the art department and passion for working as a grip are newly founded thanks to this program and the lovely people working hard at Eagle Vision.

The thing I’ll miss the most, hands down, is coming into work every day with the people I love either in the classroom, on set or in the office. With that said, this is not the last time I will see them, I think that’s inevitable. It also helps that we’ve all become friends.

I cannot express my thanks enough to NSI and CBC for providing me with this opportunity and privilege to work with amazing people in the industry which I was born for. Thank you all, and until next time.

Jon Berg

Jon Berg (Burnaby)

What a journey it has been. Being part of this year’s CBC New Indigenous Voices program has been a tremendous honour for me and I’m so proud to have had this experience.

The in-class portion of the course was intense but incredibly informative. I really enjoyed the practical advice from guest speakers and I now have a much more realistic idea of career paths the film industry has to offer.

I came into the program planning on becoming a producer of marketing and distribution for horror films, which is still what I’m looking to specialize in, but it’s interesting to know more about all the other roles out there and how I will interact with them in future.

The most rewarding part of the course was getting the opportunity to produce and direct my first short film – a thriller entitled Dead Bolt. Bringing this project to life was such a tremendous learning experience and I had a blast doing it, so I’m anxious to get working on the next Gate Night Productions release in the near future.

I will miss all of the NSI staff who worked so hard to make this experience special. I’m truly grateful for them making me feel at home in the Winnipeg community and for their continued support. Thank you NSI!

Adeline Bird

Adeline Bird (Winnipeg)

First, I would like to say Chi-Miigwetch to Kaya Wheeler [associate program manager], Ursula Lawson [program manager] and everyone involved in the CBC New Indigenous Voices program at NSI.

This program created space for me to grow in a whole new way. I really appreciated the combination of Indigenous culture, traditions and relating it to film. It provided me with the inspiration to be both critical and intentional about the type of stories I desire to tell.

Some of the key things I learned in the course included how to use a camera, marketing and how to structure scripts. I feel equipped and more driven in my passion for film and media.

I look forward to seeing what’s next for myself, fellow classmates and the industry itself. I will miss my classmates and all the fun things we had the opportunity to learn. But now it’s time to put all this into action.

Thank you also to my internship host, Eagle Vision. I enjoyed my time there and everyone has been so kind.

Joe Courchene

Joe Courchene (Winnipeg)

When I first started I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was in a dark place. My father recently passed and I felt lost and was severely depressed.

This program gave me more strength and put me in a better place mentally. I’ve been thinking more about my future for the first time in a long time. I truly appreciate everyone involved. This has been the most transformative couple of months in terms of growth for me. I have a clear goal of what I want to do in life and I have NSI and everyone involved to thank for that.

I’ve learned so much over these past 14 weeks. I’m going to miss working on set and everybody who was part of it.

Damian Frazee

Damian Frazee (Winnipeg)

I’m sad the program has to come to an end. But with every ending there’s a new beginning.

The course went by so fast when I look back at it. I would totally recommend it to anyone wanting to choose a career in the film and television industries.

This course was everything I hoped for and more. They opened a door for me nobody else would. Because of NSI I’ve met so many influential people and learned so much vital information about the industry. NSI even helped me get certificates needed to work on a film set.

I’ve met people and creatives actually working in the industry today. I’ve learned what needs to be done on set and behind the scenes in the office. Tons of paper work, permits and insurance to fill out. There are so many departments and so many talented people all part of a working body. It’s amazing what a crew and production team can accomplish in such a short period of time.

One of the key things I learned is that this industry is all about networking and people skills. And checking your emails. Hard work pays off and your fellow co-workers will notice who pulls their weight. There are so many opportunities in Winnipeg right now. And it’s not slowing down. I’ve had three job offers already and I wasn’t even done the course yet.

My interests never changed. I still want to be a creative and do my own projects in the future. I have a few ideas for a documentary and a mini series but I’ll always have a camera in my bag. I’d still love to be a director of photography one day.

In the mean time, I’m going to work locations for an income for the time being and see where it takes me. I’m going to join the Directors Guild of Canada and, maybe in a year, I’ll take the camera trainee program, or apply for another one of NSI’s courses like Totally Television or Features First.

This whole experience was amazing. I’ve been introduced to so many NSI alumni and other companies and organizations. It’s been such an eye opener. I enjoyed everything about the program. I’ve learned so much, and now I’m going to continue on my journey and follow my dreams and goals.

I am now a new voice and my stories will be told and shared with the world. Thanks for giving me this opportunity.

Shauntelle George (Winnipeg)

With the course ending I feel so eager to use what I’ve learned to pursue my career goals.

All my training has been as an actor so to take this course and learn about all the work that goes on behind the camera, and get to experience it, did meet my expectations.

All the workshops we had and making the five-minute film projects made me see how much hard work goes into making a film. Every person plays an important role from start to finish. I also got to learn more about myself and really validate that my interests are attainable. I will still grow as a writer and work on script writing, and continue to act.

In the course I began to lean towards makeup and, during my internship, I was fortunate enough to be placed on a project that let me see the process of special effects makeup. I was happy to hear that with special effects it can be a bit more versatile. If you want to develop the skills on your own it just takes practice or you can attend school. You have those options to help you get closer to becoming a working artist.

There are going to be so many ways to market myself and my work. I am very grateful for the advice and guidance I received during my internship.

I’ve enjoyed all the people we met. The Indigenous Film Summit was one of my favorite parts of this course. Taking the day trip to the sacred grounds was a nice outing. Learning about Indigenous history was the best way to end the course before we began our internships.

I’ll miss having a group of film lovers just getting together to talk about film and sharing that same passion, whether it’s about future projects or the latest movie we’ve seen.

Rhonda Lucy

Rhonda Lucy (Toronto)

Re-reading my first blog post, my expectations were more then met. As a person with non-visible disabilities I found the support offered at NSI wonderful. In a world where I’m often faced with being told I can’t follow my dreams, this training defied that with great kindness, compassion and humility.

My script was picked to be made into a short film called You Will Go Home. I received mentorship from the very beginning of my script idea, and got to intern at a production office. The valuable working experience of this on top of the validation as a writer and director is immeasurable. The support in this program is unlike anything I have ever had the pleasure to be part of.

I have been learning this new language and feel much more rounded for it. I feel better prepared for this work environment as well as finding my place and overcoming previous barriers to employment in this field.

I have loved all aspects of this training from networking to technology. I will miss my classmates and the NSI team. I learned and continue to learn effective communications, positive and good management skills and how to take my ideas and make them entertaining and educational to reach a wide audience.

I have been finding my artistic voice and am excited to bring new bodies of work to film and television. I have grown this massive support in my corner from my two spirit, QPOC, trans and all queer communities, people who have faced marginalization and deal with disabilities.

I have been meeting with networks and gaining a huge amount of support including for the music and programs I run for Sun Raven Arts – an Indigenous alternative learning and healing arts-based company. I will be a much stronger mentor to youth with the skills and networking NSI has provided.

My aim is to keep telling my stories but also aid in telling others’ stories, to look at the beauty and positives in and around our community in fun and artistic ways. This program has given me the ability to start doing just that. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn at the Winnipeg Film Group and will grow and put our voices out there.

Cynthia Murdock

Cynthia Murdock (Winnipeg)

The CBC New Indigenous Voices program met and exceeded all of my expectations. Over the past 14 weeks I gained a lot of knowledge about the industry. The information from in-class workshops made it easy to transition to my internship.

I was very fortunate to get an internship with Lisa Meeches and Sandy Fox at Eagle Vision and Manito Ahbee. In six short weeks, I gained so much experience and hands-on knowledge in producing for TV and film, as well as what it takes to produce a large event such as the Manito Ahbee Festival.

Being part of the program has broadened my perspective about the industry, especially in choosing a career. There are tons of departments you can have a career in, such as grip, sound, lighting, special effects, construction, makeup, etc. And becoming certified in on-set etiquette and WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), plus being guided in where to apply to work in a department, has helped a lot too.

If there is one thing I can take away and share with others, it’s to pass on my knowledge or lend a helping hand to anyone wanting to work in the industry or those who may need help with their own projects. Because the most important thing I was shown during the program is how willing and eager people are to help you. And I would definitely recommend the program.

Diandre Thomas-Hart

Diandre Thomas-Hart (Winnipeg)

At the beginning of this course I was so nervous and excited to be learning more about film and the industry in general – a passion I’ve always had. Now, after taking CBC New Indigenous Voices, I’ve became more confident in myself while improving and utilizing current skills in filmmaking techniques.

I now have a much greater understanding of how the industry operates. I feel honoured and privileged to be part of this program because of all the incredible opportunities provided to young Indigenous filmmakers. I’m also grateful to be surrounded by folks who feel as passionate about working in this field. I’m amazed at how much we learned over the last 14 weeks.

This course went above and beyond my expectations. It has been amazing. I heard about NSI through alumni of the course and they had so many great things to say. It’s no surprise that many alumni since year one have gone on to do outstanding work in film as Indigenous filmmakers and also in leadership and community.

One of the key things I’ve taken from this course is that relationships, your networks and the people you know are so important. To work cooperatively with one another is so vital in film because your crew is your team, and your team needs to work respectfully with each other to create collaboratively. I believe everyone, no matter who or what field they’re in, should understand this because it helps create a better environment.

My career interest in film has not changed since the beginning of the course. I want to be a producer and, specifically, a producer for more Indigenous content to be made. My goals are to provide more opportunities for Indigenous youth and filmmakers.

Although I saw how many different options are in the film industry, my passion lies in creating more opportunities while taking a leadership role. I’m looking forward to focusing my time on short films and documentary production.

I loved working with and getting to know the folks in the program. They are all so motivated and passionate about their work. It’s amazing to meet such wonderful and like-minded individuals. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them.

I’m so thankful for this experience and I highly recommended this program to all Indigenous youth interested in film. I look forward to seeing our own stories being made by and for Indigenous peoples.

• • •

CBC New Indigenous Voices is funded by: Title, Presenting and Tuition Sponsor CBC; Program Partners Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, the Centre for Aborginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD) and Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Corus Entertainment and Breakthrough Entertainment; Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Industry Partner the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Industry Supporters IATSEimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival; and Service Sponsor William F. White. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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