Alumni news in brief, July 2020: Part 2 – industry initiative selections

A roundup of industry initiatives involving NSI alumni.

Amanda Strong selected to Sundance Institute Native Filmmaker’s Lab

Amanda Strong (NSI IndigiDocs, pictured above) was selected as the first Canadian fellow to take part in the 2020 Sundance Institute Native Filmmaker’s Lab. The news was shared as the Indigenous Screen Office announced its new partnership with the Sundance Institute.

At the Native Filmmakers Lab, which runs virtually June 29–July 10, the fellows workshop scripts of their short films under the expert creative mentorship of Indigenous program alumni and other established filmmaking professionals serving as advisors along with the Sundance Indigenous program staff, led by Indigenous program director N. Bird Runningwater. Following the lab, fellows receive a year-long continuum of support.

ISO/Netflix partnership support

The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) Netflix Apprenticeship and Cultural Mentorship Program has selected a number of alumni to engage in cultural mentorship, engagement, learning and protocols work during the development phases of their projects. This includes engagement with Elders, language speakers, knowledge keepers and/or community members.

  • Steven Thomas Davies (Snuneymuxw) (NSI IndigiDocs) will learn and work with Elders and community leaders to identify and follow community protocols during the development of Joe Martin and the ƛaʔuukʷiatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) Dugout Canoe as part of NSI’s IndigiDocs program.
  • Tasha Hubbard (Peepeekisis Cree Nation) (NSI IndigiDocs) will be mentored in order to collaborate extensively with Elders and knowledge keepers on the buffalo in the development of a feature essay documentary.
  • Theresa Stevenson (Cree) (CBC New Indigenous Voices) will be mentored in Nehiyawewin/Plains Cree language that will then be incorporated into a feature film script.
  • Jordan Waunch (Métis) (TELUS STORYHIVE) will study Michif and Cree knowledge and language sessions to aid in the development of a TV pilot.

The goal of the second round for the Indigenous Production Apprenticeships is to create new opportunities for hands-on training and career progression for Indigenous creatives who want to take their careers to the next level.

  • Assini Productions – three apprentices work and gain experience on the set of Rosie, a bilingual comedy-drama feature film by writer/director/producer Gail Maurice (Métis). Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, Michelle St. John (NSI IndigiDocs grad and current program advisor) and Jaene Castrillon will apprentice in the roles of director, producer and 1st AD.
  • Boyer Thomas Productions – producer Eva Thomas (Walpole Island First Nation) (NSI Totally Television) and director Roger Boyer (Saulteaux/Ojibway) (CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs, NSI Storytellers) will create three mentorship opportunities for their feature film Coffee Express, including for producer apprentice Justina Neepin (Fox Lake Cree Nation) (CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs).
  • Leena Minifie (Gitxaala Nation) Leena will mentor with Trish Dolman (NSI Features First) on a historical documentary mini-series with interactive digital components.
  • Spotted Fawn Productions – Amanda Strong (Cree/Métis) (NSI IndigiDocs) of Spotted Fawn Productions is creating two mentee positions for emerging Indigenous artists working in stop-motion animation.

The ISO/Netflix partnership was announced in June 2019 at Banff World Media Festival. The partnership is part of a $25M commitment to the sector made by Netflix as part of a five-year deal with Canadian Heritage to develop new talent in Canada.

2020 Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative

NSI alumni were selected for Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices.

Pitch program

  • Camille Beaudoin (NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)
  • Paula Devonshire (NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)
  • Gemma Holdway (NSI Features First)
  • Cam Lizotte (NSI Storytellers)
  • Katie Weekley (NSI Drama Prize, NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)

Professional development program

  • Tanya Brunel (NSI Global Marketing)
  • Ryan Cooper (NSI IndigiDocs, CBC New Indigenous Voices)
  • Miranda Currie (NSI IndigiDocs)
  • Erica Daniels (NSI IndigiDocs, CBC New Indigenous Voices)
  • Sage Daniels (NSI IndigiDocs, CBC New Indigenous Voices)
  • Nicole Demerse (NSI Totally Television)
  • Wendy Hill-Tout (Drama Lab)
  • Eisha Marjara (NSI Features First)
  • Eva Thomas (NSI Totally Television)

The Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative is designed to offer a professional springboard for 100 Francophone, Indigenous, and women and non-binary creators and producers from across Canada. Participants receive a full access BANFF 2021 registration, a suite of virtual professional development programming leading up to the 2021 festival, and participation in a special networking event at BANFF 2021.

BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media

NSI alumni have been selected for BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media.

  • Camille Beaudoin (NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)
  • Tanya Brunel (NSI Global Marketing)
  • Petie Chalifoux (NSI IndigiDocs)
  • Eva Colmers (NSI Totally Television)
  • Rebecca Gibson
  • Kate Green (NSI Totally Television, NSI Lifestyle & Reality Series Producer)

This initiative empowers and trains Canadian women entrepreneurs to launch and grow their own sustainable businesses within the screen-based industries. With a strong mandate to champion diversity at its core, the program is designed to advance gender equality across the media sector, bolstering the economic success of all women, including women of colour, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ women and non-binary individuals.

CBC Creative Relief Fund support

The CBC Creative Relief Fund has awarded funding to a number of alumni projects.

The fund was launched in April in response to COVID-19 to provide $2M in urgently needed development and production funding to a diverse range of original Canadian projects, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted entertainment, kids and young adult programming, podcasts, play adaptations and short documentaries.

Innovation stream

Bad Mom Diaries (development) – Trey Anthony (NSI Totally Television)
A diverse range of moms, dads, caregivers and experts answer all your questions about parenting while in a pandemic. Let’s discuss: I hate my kids being at home, no energy to have sex, I want to kill my husband right now and more.

Free Delivery (development) – Sean De Vries (NSI Global Marketing)
A hilarious, spontaneous and fast paced game show where unsuspecting homeowners open their doors to accept a package only to discover they can win big if they can answer trivia and master the challenges.

Nitanis & Skylar (preschool) – Loretta Todd (Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program)
An action-adventure animated series about Nitanis, a mystery-solving genius who joins forces with Skylar Lark, a mêmêkwêsiw (a Cree elfin-like Little Person), and Logan, a gerbil who can talk, so they can help the neighbourhood find lost people, places and things.

Super Freaky (tween) – Jeremy Torrie (NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative)
A youth-oriented program exploring urban myths, supernatural stories and other unnatural phenomena in our world.

Wild Geese (development) – Matt Sadowski (NSI Drama Prize, NSI Features First)
Set in a future where humans are almost extinct, and every facet of one’s life is pre-assigned, Wild Geese is a new-age love story about two fugitives, teen androids, on the run from the system and people controlling the status quo.

Playwright pilot stream

White Girl Magic – Carys Lewis and Trey Anthony
Parenting is never easy … but it’s even harder when #BlackGirlMagic meets #WhiteGirlDrunk. White Girl Magic will explore an unlikely female friendship that navigates race, class and plenty of emotional baggage.

CBC short docs stream

Me, Mom & COVID-19 – Mary Sexton (NSI Features First)
My 97-year-old mother died and everyone got sick: what happens when one person with COVID-19 visits a funeral home in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Read the rest of our July alumni news in brief

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