Original Published 20:15 Jun 01, 2022
By Regan Treewater, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – STORYHIVE wants to amplify Indigenous voices by providing support to 30 Indigenous storytellers with a $20,000 production grant, mentorship, training and distribution through TELUS Optik TV. The STORYHIVE 2022 Indigenous Storyteller Edition aspires to provide self-agency and empower film innovators from British Columbia and Alberta to build thriving artistic careers.
“Since 2013, STORYHIVE has been able to support a community of more than 18,000 local content creators across British Columbia and Alberta,” explains Ryan Logan, Alberta Territory Manager for STORYHIVE. “We want to support Indigenous communities and provide an accessible platform for up-and-coming storytellers to share their work.”
“STORYHIVE acknowledges that there is a history of Indigenous creatives being excluded from the film industry due to systemic racism,” Logan continues. “At the heart of any cultural group are the stories that provide the foundation for beliefs, unity, and belonging and we want to help share these stories and voices with all Canadians.”
Recipients are given financial support to fund their projects, as well as artistic mentoring and distribution of their work through TELUS Optik TV Channel 707 and 126. To ensure an authentic message is delivered to viewers, TELUS STORYHIVE has partnered with the Indigenous Screen Office and an Indigenous Advisory Committee.
“I have always loved film and from a young age I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker,” explained 2018 STORYHIVE grant recipient Trevor Solway in a recent phone interview. The Blackfoot filmmaker, writer, and director has always been enamored by the limitless possibilities inherent to the world of the silver screen, but never saw his own identity reflected within the industry – times are changing.
When Solway got a phone call encouraging him to apply for the 2018 grant, he remembers feeling a sense of accessibility. “My name came up through networks of contacts, and I was supported through the entire application process. I felt extremely valued.”
Solway’s work finds its origins, inspiration, and realization within the familiar setting of his home and the community that raised, influenced, and nurtured him. “I was at film school in Vancouver, and I very purposefully moved back home to pursue filmmaking. I felt strongly that this is where I needed to be. My home, and the people who surround me are a treasure chest of stories. I’m making films with and about people who love me, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Solway is dedicated to encouraging members of his community to follow their goals, and as a full time filmmaker, he provides those around him with employment opportunities to contribute and collaborate in his many projects. His cousin Adam was the cameraman on his last cinematic undertaking.
STORYHIVE works to engage talent within remote communities.“We partner with past STORYHIVE creators to get the message out,” says Logan. “We want to encourage talent in B.C. and Alberta.” He elaborated further, adding that, “STORYHIVE wants to amplify Indigenous voices.”
In Solway’s Siksika community, storytelling has always been a way of life. He learned the art of passing on oral history from his grandfather and recalls that his version of Saturday morning cartoons as a child consisted of sitting with his grandfather over hot cups of coffee to listen to stories about the stars, the Earth, the animals, and their people. How fitting that through these grants and mentorship, such narratives by Indigenous creators can now be accessed through the click of a button or tap of a screen on STORYHIVE’s social channel and Optik TV.
The sharing of Indigenous stories and amplifying of long stifled voices remains a priority at TELUS. Since 2018, over $4 million has been invested in community programming through TELUS Local Content. This year’s Indigenous Storyteller Edition promises to promote greater understanding of Indigenous narratives through nationwide distribution of enriching filmmaking by some rising stars of Canadian cinema.
The 2022 Indigenous Storyteller Edition is open now for submissions at storyhive.com/apply and will close June 28, 2022 before 12 a.m. (midnight). Indigenous storytellers from across British Columbia and Alberta are encouraged to apply.
This item reprinted with permission from Alberta Native News, Edmonton, Alberta