NSI IndigiDocs Apply

Application deadline

Applications are closed.

Questions

If you have questions and/or concerns about the application or application fee, or about how training will be delivered, please get in touch. We will do all we can to break down any barriers preventing you from applying and sharing your story. Email your questions to program manager Kaya Wheeler (kaya.wheeler@nsi-canada.ca).

Application fee

$100 non-refundable application fee. Payment is processed through PayPal. If paying the application fee is an issue, get in touch and we will work with you to find a solution: Kaya Wheeler (kaya.wheeler@nsi-canada.ca).

Tuition

Program partners have covered the tuition costs.


PROGRAM GUIDELINES

What does NSI IndigiDocs offer?
What is the program format?
What do I have to commit to the program?
Who can apply?
Can I apply with more than one proposal per year? Can I resubmit a proposal?
Which projects are eligible?
How do I apply?
What are the in-kind services and how do I include them in my budget?
How are students selected?
When will I know if I have been selected?
Who is the Indigenous training programs advisor?
Who is the NSI IndigiDocs program manager?
Who is the NSI IndigiDocs story advisor?
What are the exact dates of the program?
What rights does NSI have on the project?
What financial assistance will I receive?
What is the relationship between NSI and the successful applicant?
Can I submit my application by fax or email?

What does NSI IndigiDocs offer?

NSI IndigiDocs is a two-phase, part-time, online program offering customized training for Indigenous filmmakers who have an idea for a 10-minute documentary film.

During phase 1 (all students), you will:

  • attend an online, six-week boot camp from February 23 to April 1, 2021 (dates TBC) involving up to 12 hours each week spent in class and working on assignments
  • work with experienced documentary producers and directors
  • learn about concept development, research, writing and directing
  • learn about financing, banks, agencies, tax credits, production planning, cash flow, etc.
  • explore online marketing and find out how to build an audience for your film
  • attend Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online in April/May 2021

At the end of phase 1 you will have a market-ready film proposal.

You’ll then submit a revised script, budget and production schedule. A jury of senior-level industry representatives will decide which students continue to phase 2 to produce their short documentary.

During phase 2, up to four students will:

  • receive a cash award of up to $16K and approximately $10K of in-kind services to put towards the production costs of a short documentary
  • get firsthand experience of making a documentary film from development, to pitch, to production, to packaging and delivery
  • work with a mentor
  • receive post-production services through NFB

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What is the program format?

Phase 1 – intensive part-time, online, six-week training boot camp (February 23 to April 1, 2021) (dates TBC)

Attendance is mandatory for all students.

Classes will be held online with approximately 12 hours per week of training along with assignments to be completed outside the online sessions.

Boot camp starts with an online sharing circle followed by sessions with industry experts on story development, visual storytelling, research, rights clearances, pitching, legal matters, budgeting, financing, and directing and producing a documentary.

To be considered for phase 2, you must demonstrate you have advanced creatively and understand how much your project will cost to produce; and how you can manage your budget and production realities. COVID-19 will still be a factor so projects must be produced with COVID safety protocols in mind and in accordance with your local health regulations.

Phase 2 – production and post-production (May 2021 to February 2022)

Note: this is part-time. You will be focused on production and post-production and your hours are flexible to allow you to continue with your other life and work commitments.

Up to four students will be selected to advance to phase 2.

Phase 2 focuses on producing your documentary with support from the NSI IndigiDocs advisors and a professional mentor. You will work within your own community during this phase.

You will sign contracts with NSI, APTN and documentary Channel and must also form a corporation before going into production and receiving funding. NSI will contribute $1K towards the cost of incorporation.

A cash award of up to $16K and approximately $10K of in-kind services are provided towards the production of your film in accordance with your NSI contract. The award must go towards the cost of producing your film and not towards payment for your services.

You must also be available to attend Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online in April/May 2021.

Your film will be finished at the NFB beginning in January 2022 in accordance with specifications outlined in your contract with NSI, APTN and documentary Channel.

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What do I have to commit to the program?

Phase 1 training takes place during the day (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT) and attendance is mandatory for the entire six weeks. You should be prepared to spend approximately 12 hours a week in online sessions with industry professionals and working on assignments.

At the end of April and beginning of May you will be given an industry pass to attend Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online. You will be expected to participate fully in industry sessions and film screenings.

If you’re selected for phase 2, you must set aside considerable time to make your film. While NSI IndigiDocs is a part-time program, you will work in your own community to produce your documentary which will take considerable focus and time.

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Who can apply?

This program is aimed at individual filmmakers wishing to develop and produce a short documentary film. You are expected to take on the director and producer roles (training and mentorship will be provided).

Preference will be given to strong creative applicants who are passionate and invested in the creative development of their project and can demonstrate they have sufficient craft and technical experience to realistically be considered capable of producing a documentary film.

NSI is committed to selecting participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women-identifying, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those from regional and remote areas and various religious groups.

COVID-19 will still be a factor so filmmakers will be asked to prove their film can be produced with COVID safety protocols in mind and in accordance with local health regulations.

To be eligible you must:

  • have an idea and preliminary treatment for a 10-minute documentary
  • be an Indigenous person: someone who is First Nation, Métis or Inuit
  • have demonstrated experience in a director or producer role
  • ensure you have full access to your subject or subjects with a written document granting you life rights to their story (if applicable)
  • maintain creative and financial control over the project as well as technical ownership. This includes ownership of, or option on, all underlying rights (if any). NSI reserves the right to disqualify anyone that does not fully own the rights in and to the project
  • be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant aged 18 or over
  • not be a participant in any other training course that would conflict with your ability to commit to the NSI IndigiDocs program
  • have production or craft experience, or business affairs/legal experience, or marketing/distribution experience, or some combination of these
  • demonstrate technical competence and storytelling ability with past works

If you feel you would benefit from the program despite your experience level (lack of, or wealth of) please include a letter explaining why the selection committee should consider you for the program. This letter is in addition to the deliverable ‘letter of expectation.’

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Can I apply with more than one proposal per year? Can I resubmit a proposal?

Yes, provided you complete a separate application form along with an additional $100 non-refundable application fee. Please reach out to us if paying the application fee is an issue and we will work with you to find a solution.

You may apply twice with the same project within a three-year period.

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Which projects are eligible?

  • Projects up to 10 minutes long.
  • NSI will not accept any project that contains gratuitous violence, sexual violence or sexual exploitation.
  • Completed projects must abide by the broadcast requirements of APTN and documentary Channel.

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How do I apply?

You must fill out all required sections of the application form (link at the top of this page) and include all documents listed below as one document (PDF, Word or Zip). Your application will be disqualified if any section is incomplete or missing.

A check list has been provided for your use on the application form.

  • Synopsis: a one paragraph summary of the overall project.
  • Treatment: a detailed description of the story; characters who will be interviewed and why; the focus you will take; and how you will support your story.
  • Director’s notes: details about stylistic approach, overall tone and shooting style.
  • Preliminary production plan: a plan for research, pre-production and production with dates and locations for each phase. Keep in mind shooting must be completed by December 2021 and must be in line with COVID safety protocols and in accordance with your local health regulations.
  • Preliminary marketing plan: a clear idea of the film’s target audience and your understanding of its market potential.
  • Proposed production budget: a preliminary production budget (download this template).
  • Proposed financing structure: your proposed sources of revenue for financing the project, including the cash award of up to $16K and approximately $10K of in-kind services (please see breakdown after this list).
  • Proof of access: please confirm that full access can be obtained to any individuals needed to tell the story.
  • Resume clearly stating production experience: include your role on the production and the following information about each project: the writer/producer/director; genre; if it was a student film; final running time; any broadcasts/theatrical release/festivals played; is it in development, production, post or completed?
  • Letter of expectation: a paragraph describing what you hope to gain by participating in the course.
  • Letter of reference: this letter should help identify why the person providing the reference feels you are ready to make a short documentary film.
  • Online link (YouTube or Vimeo) of support material, if available.
  • Additional letters (if applicable): required for applicants who need to demonstrate their suitability to participate in the program because they don’t meet eligibility criteria.
  • $100 non-refundable entry fee. Payment is processed through PayPal. Please reach out to us if paying the application fee is an issue and we will work with you to find a solution.

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What are the in-kind services and how do I include them in my budget?

As well as up to $16K towards your film, phase 2 students also receive the following value-in-kind services:

  • Incorporation fees (max. $1K)
  • Legal services ($1K value)
  • Full production insurance costs ($2.5K value)
  • Closed captioning costs ($250 value)
  • Post production costs for the online and mix (up to $7.5K value)

These are subject to change but you can include these amounts in your budget

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How are students selected?

Phase 1: a jury of senior-level industry representatives will select up to eight students based on the strength of their creative ability and the audience appeal of their project.

Preference will be given to strong creative applicants who are passionate and invested in the creative development of their project and can demonstrate they have sufficient craft and technical experience to realistically be considered capable of producing a documentary film. Both the project and filmmaker must be suitable for the program.

Phase 2: a jury will again decide which students continue on to the production of their short documentary. Students must demonstrate they have advanced creatively and understand how much their project will cost to produce; and how they can manage their budget and production realities.

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When will I know if I have been selected?

Final selection of students for phase 1 will be complete by January 22, 2021.

Students selected for phase 2 will be notified in May 2021.

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Who is the Indigenous training programs advisor?

Lisa Meeches

Lisa Meeches is one of the most dynamic and respected producers in the film industry and is Anishinaabe from Long Plain First Nation.

After studying broadcasting in North Dakota, Lisa began her career in 1986 with the Native Media Network. She later began news reporting for Craig Broadcasting Systems in Manitoba and Alberta, where she established a liaison team who connected the newsroom with surrounding First Nations communities.

Her journalism career recently came full circle with a Beyond Borders Media Award for her work on Taken as co-creator, executive producer and host, for which Lisa has also been nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards (best factual series, best cross platform project). Lisa is also an episode director on the series.

She is the founding partner and executive producer of Eagle Vision, the most prolific production company in Canadian history with Indigenous ownership.

Lisa has produced numerous projects to critical acclaim including The Sharing Circle, Canada’s longest running Indigenous television series; Ice Road Truckers; Tipi Tales, a Parent’s Choice award-winning children’s series; and Elijah, a Gemini Award-winning MOW; and the three-time nominated, two-time CSA winner for JACK.

She executive produced the four-time CSA nominee and two-time winner We Were Children, which is widely praised by residential school survivors for its power to heal, while general audiences have been moved by its accurate and truthful portrayal of the impacts of Canada’s colonial past. Prior to this project, Lisa travelled the country with her team interviewing residential school survivors about their experiences for the Legacy of Hope project.

Most recently Lisa served as creative director/executive producer for the National MMIWG Inquiry. Her work was honoured with two gold medals at the international Shorty Awards for excellence in social media. Other Eagle Vision Inc. productions include the comedies Lovesick, Walk All Over Me, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and sold to the Weinstein Company, the politically-charged romantic comedy Blue State, and the Academy Award®-winning feature film Capote. Lisa is co-executive producer on the CBC/eOne series Burden of Truth.

Lisa also devotes considerable time to other causes. She has been critical to the success of the Manito Ahbee Festival since its inception 15 years ago where she has acted in the capacity of board chair on a volunteer basis until recently stepping down to assume the role of executive director.

True to her heritage, Lisa is a renowned champion fancy shawl dancer. Lisa is executive producer of Orange Daisy Project, a social action campaign in support of mental health for teen girls. Among her numerous awards and nominations are: 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communication, 2009 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the area of Creative Communications, University of Manitoba’s Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award, Women in Film and Television 2009 Crystal Award for Mentorship, Order of Manitoba, and she was even Ms. Chatelaine.

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Who is the NSI IndigiDocs program manager?

Kaya Wheeler

Program manager Kaya works across many of NSI’s courses and helps run the day-to-day activities of CBC New Indigenous Voices and NSI IndigiDocs.

Kaya graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a bachelor of arts in Indigenous studies, and has been working within the Indigenous community in Winnipeg for more than 10 years. She has spent a large portion of this time working with Indigenous youth in many areas, including acting and storytelling for theatre. She has had experience both volunteering and working on film sets, and even had a small stint on the stage and in front of the camera.

Kaya is excited to be in a role that helps hone and amplify new and existing voices in the industry.

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (also Director Advisor)

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Bihttoš (Rebel)c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the cityThe Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) is the co-manage of NSI IndigiDocs. Elle-Máijá is also the director advisor for the program.

Elle-Máijá’s films have screened at various international film festivals, and she is recognized for her work rooted in social justice. Accolades include a Kodak Image Award, the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award as an emerging filmmaker. She was named one of CBC’s “Young Indigenous Leaders: 5 Under 30 To Watch in 2015 and her autobiographical short film Bihttoš (Rebel) was named one of the Top Ten short films at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was also awarded best documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2015.

At the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival, Elle-Máijá and co-director Kathleen Hepburn received the Best BC Film Award for The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open. She also won the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award, Toronto Film Critics Association and Vancouver Film Critics Circle best Canadian film awards as well as two Canadian Screen Awards for best directing and writing.

Elle-Máijá is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sámi from Norway.

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Who is the NSI IndigiDocs story advisor?

Shane Belcourt

Shane Belcourt is a two-time CSA-nominated director, with award-winning narrative and documentary works in both film and TV. His debut feature film Tkaronto had a theatrical release, was sold to Super Channel and Air Canada, and was showcased in both the TIFF Indigenous Cinema Retrospective and the UCLA Film & Television Archive travelling exhibition, Through Indian Eyes: Native American Cinema.

Shane also directed Chanie Wenjack which Walrus Magazine noted as “the Heritage Minute Canada needs to see.” His most recent feature film Red Rover premiered at Whistler Film Festival, opened the Canadian Film Festival and was released in March 2020 to glowing reviews.

On the documentary side, Shane directed Kaha:wi which features dancer and choreographer Santee Smith. It premiered at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, aired on APTN and CBC Docs, and won a CSC award for best cinematography in 2016, along with a CSA best director nomination.

Shane co-directed (with Lisa Jackson) the CBC one-hour Indictment: The Crimes Of Shelly Chartier which won best doc at imagineNATIVE. Shane recently created and released a new 13-part music documentary series Amplify which is available to watch on APTN lumni. He was a consulting producer (writing room story editor) on the drama series Trickster currently airing on CBC.

Shane is in development to direct a feature documentary Beautiful Scars for TVO and Sky Network on internationally acclaimed songwriter Tom Wilson, and a feature narrative based around a family tale entitled Dumbbell which received development funding from Telefilm Canada.

Shane is an alumnus of TIFF Talent Lab and NSI Totally Television, and a member of the Directors Guild of Canada.

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What are the exact dates of the program?

Phase 1 – part-time, online boot camp from February 23 to April 1, 2021 (dates TBC). Hot Docs online in April/May, 2021 (four days)

Phase 2 – production, post-production and delivery of film (May 2021 to February 2022)

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What rights does NSI have on the project?

Subject to the rights to be licensed to APTN and documentary Channel, the selected filmmakers shall retain copyright in the documentaries developed and produced as part of the program.

NSI and NSI IndigiDocs investors require a head and/or tail credit on all copies of the film as well as a prominent credit on all publicity and promotional materials developed with respect to the project.

A contract will be signed with each student outlining the commitments and responsibilities of the filmmaker and NSI under the program.

For phase 2, you will sign a broadcast agreement with APTN and documentary Channel.

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What financial assistance will I receive?

Phase 1 – will take place entirely online, you are responsible for making sure you are available for all sessions. You will receive a conference and industry pass for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online edition.

Phase 2

  • Up to $16K for production expenses

Value-in-kind services (subject to change) including:

  • Incorporation fees (max. $1K)
  • Legal services ($1K value)
  • Full production insurance costs ($2.5K value)
  • Closed captioning costs ($250 value)
  • Post production costs for the online and mix (up to $7.5K value)

What is the relationship between NSI and the successful applicant?

The relationship between the applicant and NSI shall not be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture. The applicant shall not have the right to incur any debts nor make any commitment of or on behalf of NSI.

Can I submit my application by fax or email?

No. All applications must be provided using the online form.

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

If you have questions and/or concerns about the application or application fee, or about how training will be delivered, please get in touch. We will do all we can to break down any barriers preventing you from applying and sharing your story. Email your questions to program manager Kaya Wheeler (kaya.wheeler@nsi-canada.ca).

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• • •

NSI IndigiDocs 2021 is funded by Program Partners APTN, Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and RBC Emerging Artists Project; Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Boot Camp Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Strategic Sponsors documentary Channel, CBC Gem; Supporting Sponsors Telefilm Canada, Super ChannelA&E Networks; Provincial / Territorial Sponsors Manitoba Film & Music, Ontario Creates, Northwest Territories Film Commission, Creative Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA); Industry Partner the National Film Board of Canada; Industry Supporters imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; and Service Sponsors Line 21 Media, iSplice Films. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.