NSI IndigiDocs film êmîcêtôsêt-Many Bloodlines, from director Theola Ross and producer Alex Bailey, has been honoured with the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. The award includes a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of John and Betty Youson.
IndigiDocs, run by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI), is a two-phase, customized distance learning program providing training, mentorship and documentary film production.
In êmîcêtôsêt-Many Bloodlines, a Cree filmmaker and her white partner document their pregnancy and journey to parenthood. From the search for an Indigenous donor and midwife to their concerns about raising a child as an interracial queer couple, the joy of having a child together gives them the courage to overcome any obstacle.
Hot Docs jury members Sami Khan (filmmaker), Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (filmmaker, writer, actor) and Kathleen McInnis (producer) said, “For the remarkable strength of its convictions and the tenderness of its filmmaking, the jury grants the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary to êmîcêtôsêt-Many Bloodlines, a film rooted in and guided by love.”
“This was an incredibly personal story to bring to the screen, and we are grateful for the support and mentorship provided by NSI IndigiDocs,” said Theola and Alex. “Winning this award at a world-renowned festival is an incredible honour and we look forward to sharing the film with more audiences around the world.
“Just as we learn from our Elders in our community and from those who hold knowledge, we see these opportunities in the same way. It is a chance to sit with the knowledge keepers of the film community and be given a chance to hold knowledge ourselves. As people who believe in community building, this award allows us to gain priceless skills, experience projects, enhance our careers and, more importantly, it allows us to then turn back towards our community and pay it forward.”
“Alex and Theola have created a beautiful and important film which deserves to be honoured in this way,” said program manager Kaya Wheeler. “It’s incredibly humbling to watch these stories come to life on the screen, play at festivals around the world and get industry recognition. Indigenous stories like these are powerful and will continue to make an impact on the audiences who see and hear them.”
Twenty eight short documentaries have been made through NSI IndigiDocs since 2014. Many have screened at festivals and events throughout Canada. ahkâmêyimo nitânis | Keep Going My Daughter screened at Hot Docs (2019). When the Children Left won the inaugural Indigenous Spirit Award and the Manitoba Short Film Audience Choice Award at Gimli Film Festival (2019). Big Momma, When the Children Left and ahkâmêyimo nitânis | Keep Going My Daughter all screened at Vancouver International Film Festival (2019). Path Without End screened at a special event in North Bay in March 2019. And ahkâmêyimo nitânis | Keep Going My Daughter and When the Children Left both screened at imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival (2019).
Hot Docs is an Academy Awards® qualifying festival for short documentaries and êmîcêtôsêt-Many Bloodlines now qualifies for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the annual Academy Awards®.
NSI IndigiDocs is funded by Program Partners APTN, Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, RBC Emerging Artists Project; Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Boot Camp Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Strategic Sponsor documentary Channel; Supporting Sponsors Telefilm Canada, Super Channel, CBC Gem, Corus Entertainment, A&E Television Networks; Provincial Sponsors Manitoba Film & Music, Creative Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA), Northwest Territories Film Commission, Creative BC through the Daryl Duke and William Vince Scholarship Fund; Industry Partner the National Film Board of Canada; Industry Supporters imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Service Sponsors Line 21 Media, iSplice Films. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.
APTN launched in 1999 as the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit and charitable broadcaster, it’s the only one of its kind in North America. The network is Sharing Our Stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages to nearly 11 million Canadian subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audiences through genuine, inspiring and engaging entertainment on multiple platforms.
About the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)
The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Renowned for having given many content creators their first breaks, NSI provides customized training, mentorship and production support through courses like NSI Totally Television, CBC New Indigenous Voices presented by NSI, NSI Features First, NSI IndigiDocs, NSI New Northern Voices and TELUS STORYHIVE.