Alex Bailey: NSI IndigiDocs provided a supportive community that valued my independent voice

Alex Bailey

Storytelling is more important than ever as we all face the unique challenges this year has brought us.

Stories entertain, inspire and transform. They remind us of where we come from and where we can go. We need more stories to free our imaginations and open our hearts to create a path of understanding and healing.

To mark the season of giving during December, we’re sharing impact stories from our alumni and board members to show the power of story in action.

Current NSI students are blessed by the commitment of NSI’s Board of Directors – 100% of whom have donated to NSI’s annual fund. Please join them in supporting our students by donating today and making the power of story even more powerful.

Today’s impact story comes from Alex Bailey – NSI IndigiDocs alumna.

Alex’s IndigiDocs film, êmîcêtôsêt: Many Bloodlines, has been celebrated at film festivals across North America. Most recently, it was named as one of Canada’s Top Ten Shorts of 2020 at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Alex receives encouragement and inspiration from her NSI mentors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Shane Belcourt – even after the program concluded.

Alex is proud to be part of a community that wants to see her succeed.

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If you could describe your experience with NSI in three words what would they be?

Uplifting, educational and impactful.

How did your training through NSI help you get to the place you’re at in your career today?

My training through NSI IndigiDocs helped me launch my career in documentary filmmaking.

NSI IndigiDocs created meaningful connections and provided the support that allowed me to make a film that is reflective of the type of work I want to continue creating. This film [êmîcêtôsêt: Many Bloodlines] has given me the opportunity to continue working on projects I am passionate about.

How did your instructors, mentors and peers influence you to become a better storyteller?

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Shane Belcourt went above and beyond as mentors during NSI IndigiDocs. Not only did they offer incredible support, insight and technical wisdom during the program, but they continue to support my journey as a filmmaker a whole year after the program has ended.

NSI IndigiDocs has built a beautiful, supportive, caring community that I am proud to be a member of.

There are so many mentors, instructors and peers in the program that have been incredibly generous with their knowledge that I could not list them all here. From learning about their lived experiences, professional advice and forming lifelong friendships I am so thankful for my time at NSI.

What advice or encouragement would you give a prospective applicant considering NSI programs?

Apply with a story close to your heart! Submit what feels right to you.

What has your career trajectory looked like between when you completed training and now?

Since completing the program I’ve transitioned from working in commercial film to documentary and narrative filmmaking.

What was the most transformative part of your learning experience?

The most transformative part of my learning experience was being part of a supportive community that wants everyone to succeed, and values independent voices.

NSI is a space that focuses on developing careers, and supports the participants in reaching their goals in an extremely personalized way, from carving a career path to tangible next steps. Being able to work in a space that helped to prioritize my goals and the goals of the other participants was very beneficial.

What skills did you acquire in your course that you did not have before?

Working closely with broadcasters and funding bodies was a skill I acquired during NSI IndigiDocs. I’m very grateful for the opportunities available through broadcasters and funding bodies. NSI mentors generously shared how they successfully applied for funding and it has made all the difference for me.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a photography series exploring confined spaces, a short documentary coming out in spring 2021 and a feature narrative, dramatic script that I hope to see come to fruition in 2021.

Where can people find out more about your work online?

Visit my website, or check out my Instagram @alexfbailey.

What is your favourite Canadian film, and why?

It would be difficult for me to choose one Canadian film, as there are many.

I’m thankful and inspired by the trailblazing work of Indigenous female filmmakers such Alanis Obomsawin, Amanda Strong and Elle-Máijá.

Not only is their work strong, authentic and inspiring, their dedication to carving a path for other folks to tell their stories has opened many doors and opportunities for filmmakers like myself. It is their voices, strength and dedication to others that is inspiring.

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