The CBC New Indigenous Voices class of 2019 on their time in the course

Presented by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)

Chyann Maracle, Bethany Fontaine, Marissa Stevenson, Kane Kirton, Ursula Lawson, André Nault, Kale Swampy, Isaac Kakegamic, Celeste Sutherland, Kaya Wheeler, Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill

Top, from left: Chyann Maracle, Bethany Fontaine, Marissa Stevenson, Kane Kirton, CBC New Indigenous Voices program manager Ursula Lawson; Bottom, from left: André Nault, Kale Swampy, Isaac Kakegamic, Celeste Sutherland, CBC New Indigenous Voices associate program manager Kaya Wheeler, CBC New Indigenous Voices program assistant Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill

We bid farewell to our amazing CBC New Indigenous Voices 2019 students after celebrating their graduation on August 1 with a special film screening for friends, family, staff, faculty and funders. Students worked their butts off and we are incredibly proud of all they’ve achieved during the 14-week training course. Just before they headed off into the sunset, we got them to complete one last writing assignment.

André Nault

André Nault

My heart is full.

To everyone at NSI, my fellow participants, and all the presenters and partners who made this possible: thank you. This has been a wonderful experience full of opportunities few get to experience. I’ve loved every minute of it.

Since the program began, we have been thrown through workshop after workshop led by passionate and engaging folks from all over Manitoba’s entertainment industry. We’ve hosted professionals who work in production design, casting, funding and development, broadcasting, screenwriting and directors, to name only a few. It was a lot of information to take in, but we worked through it.

Everything we learned was put into practice as we set out to film our shorts. This would be a challenge, as our entire film was to be shot outside … at night. With our mentor, Andrew Forbes, we managed to persevere through the rain and had a great time doing it.

I’m grateful for Andrew’s mentorship and advice – we all walked away having had a chance to try something we had never tried before. My bumbling about with location sound served as a reminder of just how much I love to listen, and informed my choice in our placements.

When it came time for our internships, I requested [a placement in] broadcasting, as the presentations from local broadcasters interested me the most during our classroom workshops. To my elation, I discovered I’d be heading to CBC Manitoba for the duration of our six-week internship. Once there, I pounced on the opportunity to work in radio. It was the right move.

Current affairs is a blast, a constant challenge and a call to action to connect to my community and to concern myself with what’s happening in our city. Radio is enduring, intimate and far-reaching. And I love it. I’ve especially enjoyed reporting on conservation efforts in our province, and I expect I’ll continue doing so once my term here is done.

This program surprised me a few times, both with the enthusiasm NSI staff bring in coordinating it all and the friendships I’ve made along the way. Believe me when I say these folks are going places. The spirit on display is contagious and will be our north star as the program comes to a close. We can’t go wrong.

Kane Kirton

Kane Kirton

It’s been a great three months which have gone by too fast and that I’ve enjoyed immensely. From the beginning, the staff made everyone welcome and, for someone who has struggled with meeting new people, I was made to feel at home.

I settled in and got to know all my fellow classmates. We got along great and I felt comfortable with them. One of the things I needed to become better at was speaking in groups or interviews and our weekly Toastmasters sessions helped me become more comfortable speaking in public.

I really enjoyed the speakers who were brought in to class and the knowledge they shared with us about their film careers. The internship placements after our classes were a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. It gets you ready for the grind of filmmaking, working 12 hour days and the fast pace of film production.

I learned a little about pitching when I pitched my idea for our short film project, Hush. This will help me a lot in my future projects I’ll try to get funding for.

Working on our short Hush with my classmates was a lot of fun. I also helped on a second short, Aadizookaan, and had some good learning experiences working with low light cameras and poor weather conditions.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity NSI has given me to further my education in the film industry.

Bethany Fontaine

Bethany Fontaine

My time in the CBC New Indigenous Voices program has, by far, been the most meaningful and valuable experience I’ve had in an educational setting. Coming from university to this has made me realize how much more helpful this program has been to me in a shorter period of time.

I was lucky to intern at several places, the first being editing with Julie Hackett at iSplice Films. She introduced me to Avid and offered me a lot of guidance in editing. Her husband Bruce [Little, also of iSplice] also showed me tips for editing audio.

Then I got to intern with RoseAnna Schick of RAS Creative who introduced me to her job as a publicist. And then finally I got to be on the set of season 30 of Great Tastes of Manitoba, where I assisted the crew and producer Donalee Jones.

I got to try out so many shoes, but the program really helped solidify my path in film, knowing that I will confidently continue with editing. Being introduced to many connections and industry names has been a huge step forward for me, and has also given me the clarity I needed to know where to go. I have this newfound confidence I didn’t have before. I’m leaving sad but excited to share my voice and other Indigenous voices with stories that need to be told.

The time I spent with this group of amazing and talented individuals I am happy to call friends was also so incredibly valuable to me. Our days in class will forever be memorable, especially the laughs we had. It amazes me how such a funny and perfectly-paired group was brought together.

I thank everyone in my class, as well as CBC New Indigenous Voices team Ursula Lawson, Kaya Wheeler and Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, who were there for us every day and worked hard to give us these opportunities. I will miss you all so much – Miigwetch!

Celeste Sutherland

Celeste Sutherland

These 14 weeks came and went so quickly. I’m sad it’s ending. I had a such great time at NSI and I’m thankful to partake in this program.

Looking back to the beginning, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew NSI would teach me more about the film industry, but I didn’t know exactly how they intended to do it. My expectations were exceeded. NSI brought in local professionals to teach us what they know. The workshops were very informative. I learned there is more to filmmaking than an idea and a camera.

I have social anxiety that I have conquered for the most part, but public speaking has always been hard for me. NSI had a way of gradually getting me used to speaking out loud. They’d have us introduce ourselves to every speaker they brought in. We also had to go to Toastmasters every week. It gave me more confidence to speak in front of a large crowd which helped me later during my work placement.

When I first applied to CBC New Indigenous Voices, I knew I wanted to learn more about being a director. I consider myself a storyteller, so I wanted to bring my ideas to the screen. This is still a thing I am interested in but, because of my background as a graphic designer and illustrator, I took a new interest in the art department.

I expressed my interest to NSI and they managed to get me an internship with Eagle Vision where I was placed in the art department of a film production. I had such an amazing time there. Everyone on set treated me with kindness and patience, and I learned a lot from them. After I graduate from Red River College, I plan to work more in art departments of films and shows.

I’m going to miss being with everyone I met through the course. All the instructors were kind and fun, the NSI staff are so supportive, and my classmates are so fun to be around. I laugh thinking back to day one, remembering how we all sat in a circle and no one really talked. Now when we get together, it’s full of laughter and smiles, and I am so lucky to have them with me on this journey. I’m going to miss all the opportunities that NSI allowed us to have. And I’m going to miss everyone I worked with at my work placement.

I have learnt so much this summer and I am glad I took this course. For any Indigenous folks who want to learn more about film, I highly recommend this program.

Marissa Stevenson

Marissa Stevenson

Now that the CBC New Indigenous Voices has come to an end, it makes me realize the ideas and dreams I had in the beginning are still possible.

The course taught me about culture, screenwriting, pitching and to just keep pitching ideas. From being taught how to operate a camera to being shown how to properly hold a boom pole … the list could go on! The amount of information shared with us was insane, but in a good way.

Learning all I have from everyone along the way really encouraged me to stay focused. I wouldn’t say I’m fully confident, but I’ve definitely gained some steps moving forward.

I was the director of my group’s short film, Two Rivers, and, as nerve-racking as it was at times, it was totally worth it. I saw the pros and cons and what I could do better next time. I’ll take this whole experience with me as I continue my path in the field of TV and film.

Other than waking up early, which I won’t miss, the one thing I’ll miss about all of this is the people: the staff at NSI who were always so friendly and awesome and the NSI friends I met and bonded with.

From the beginning, some days were awkward and some days had us all laughing like we’d known one another longer than we actually had. I loved seeing all the talent from everyone and the things they’re capable of. I’m going to miss that and I’ll be rooting for everyone. I look forward to seeing what everyone does after this.

Thanks to all of you I’ve met and spoken with and thanks to Ursula, Kaya and Sarah and everyone at/involved with NSI for giving me this opportunity to be part of something amazing.

Thanks also to CBC for allowing me to be part of their crew for my internship. I’ve been super thankful to help and do what I can when needed. The opportunities given and patience shown are much appreciated.

Thank you again to everyone who made this experience ‘An Experience.’ It’s been a gooder!

Kale Swampy

Kale Swampy

Going through CBC New Indigenous Voices, I’ve learned the technical, creative and legal work that comes with film projects and the industry in general, which is far beyond what I first thought. The course gave me a well-rounded understanding about all fields, and the different aspects that go into making a film.

My interests and passion as a filmmaker and storyteller have grown in the last couple of months during my time at NSI.

I enjoyed networking with other people in the world of film and learning from all the mentors I’ve met through the program. Chi Megwetch to our mentors.

The thing I will miss the most are the relationships I’ve made with my classmates. I wish them all the best on their path of storytelling.

Isaac Kakegamic

Isaac Kakegamic

What do I think about my time during CBC New Indigenous Voices? I’d have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Winnipeg: with NSI, with the new friends I’ve made, the connections founded and the experiences gained. Every day there was always something new with objectives and purpose in mind. I know I grew as a person and artist.

Coming into the course, I really hadn’t hoisted my expectations too high, so I could enjoy the surprises and new experiences. Most of what I expected had already been laid out when I was informed about the course so I think everything worked out there. What I hadn’t expected for sure though was how utterly amazing my fellow classmates and comrades were. The amount of talent and the wide range of skills brought forth allowed us all to demonstrate our passion while also seeing what others could bring.

The new perspective I’ve gained during my time at NSI is that many things in the arts/film/television world are very chaotic, but having the skill to overcome and make sense of that chaos is something that keeps growing the more one continues to brave the wild world of filmmaking. Amid the chaos of classes, lessons, field trips and internships, I couldn’t have had a more positive experience.

Seeing how passionate people get when a good idea is started only reinforces my own passion to bring forth new ideas as a writer and author. I still aspire to be a professional and noteworthy writer.

Now that things have wound down, I’ll miss my new friends and all the people I’ve met. I know I’ll be seeing many of them at some point eventually so that keeps my spirits up.

I know I’ll never stop learning and I’ll never stop teaching others about the experiences I’ve gained. This program has given me a lot of experiences and helped me establish new connections all over the place. For that I am forever thankful. Chi-Miigwetch.

Avery Kewistep

Avery Kewistep

What I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had were amazing. Coming to a new city, meeting new lifelong friends and learning about my passion has changed my course in what I really want to do.

The biggest piece of learning I got from the course is how important it is to be passionate about whatever area you’re working in, and to keep an open mind and try out different areas if given the chance. I learned so much from my peers who all have different skills and gave my own feedback to them about how something can be done. I came into the program not knowing what to expect, and what I learned I will use every day going forward.

Working in film requires technical skill that can be learned through doing but working with people is just as important. Not everyone has to have the most amazing people skills but if you’re willing to learn and come in with a good attitude, you will go far.

Before the program I had little interest in creating my own stories and being able to tell them through my vision. Learning how to write scripts, assembling an amazing team, and going out and shooting has given me the confidence I need to continue what I learned through the program back at home.

I will most miss seeing all the people I met regularly. During the classes I learned so much and I appreciate all the laughs I shared with my classmates.

Although I plan on returning home after the program, my time in Winnipeg will never be forgotten and I plan on coming back for the culture, the people, and my continued patronage to Winnipeg film.

I want to thank all the amazing presenters for their time and sharing their knowledge, as well as NSI for accepting me into the program and treating me like family. To my classmates: thank you for all the good times and support that each of you gave and for giving this out-of-towner a home for the duration of the program.

Chyann Maracle

Chyann Maracle

Before this program started – when I packed up my life, got in my car and started my first long journey alone from home to Winnipeg after graduating college – I had no idea what to expect. This is the farthest I’ve ever lived from my community and was the biggest, scariest leap I’ve ever made (no turning around on a 25-hour commute) and after spending time here I’m glad I took this risk.

The program was more than I ever could have expected. The group this year was absolutely phenomenal and full of talent and experiences so unlike my own, but at the same time, everyone was so open and willing to share their knowledge and experiences.

We got to meet a range of industry professionals, broadcasters and artists who gave invaluable advice and presented the industry to us in a realistic way and were excited to help get us started in film. They made themselves available for meetings after classes and shared their skills and experiences. I was, and still am, amazed and honoured to have been given the opportunity to make connections with these people and to have them behind me as I pursue my future career.

Along with the film knowledge we shared, we also shared knowledge of Indigenous history, filmmaking in an Indigenous context, and we visited the spiritual grounds [the petroforms at Bannock Point in eastern Manitoba]. It’s very easy to get lost in the fog of making movies sometimes, so these experiences were very grounding and I found they really helped to remind me why I am here and what I’m doing this for. I’d like to strengthen my community and tell poignant stories relevant to my people. NSI has been so kind to accept me into this program and give me a jump start to do that and for that I am very grateful.

My career interests have changed a little since I started. I’d still like to work in documentary cinematography, but I would also now like to pursue creative producing on my own documentary projects. I know there are many stories that need to be given a platform and I would like to give them that. In the meantime, I’m excited to say I’ll be staying in Winnipeg and working on set in an art department and learning from many more amazing mentors.

I am so glad to have taken this leap. The best part, without a doubt, would have to be the people. My fellow students, Kaya, Ursula, Sarah, and everyone at NSI have made Winnipeg feel like home and given me more support than I ever could have asked for. I’ll miss eating frybread every day for lunch and then not being able to stay properly awake for the afternoon classes, and the terrible carpool karaoke.

This has been an amazing experience and if there are any unsure, out of town, terrified, Indigenous youth between 18 and 35 debating whether to apply reading this right now (even if it’s one day before the deadline), you should absolutely do it.


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CBC New Indigenous Voices is a 14-week, full-time, culturally-sensitive training course offering exposure to a variety of creative and challenging employment opportunities in film, TV and digital media. Minimum wage is paid throughout.

CBC New Indigenous Voices is funded by Title, Presenting and Tuition Sponsor CBC; Program Partners Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage, the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD) and Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Corus Entertainment, Super Channel and CBC Gem; Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Industry Partner the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Industry Supporters IATSE Local 856 and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival; and Service Sponsor William F. White. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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