Part of the Reel Focus BC suite of programs, these producers and creators are the first benefactors of the Government of British Columbia’s 2020 two-million-dollar ($2M) investment into a new Domestic Motion Picture Fund (the Fund) through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
Recipients of the $10,000 development grant are eligible for additional strategic support delivered in partnership with the Canadian Media Producers Association, BC Producers’ Branch. Participation in a business capacity-building initiative will be open to all recipients of development funding for eligible activities like mentoring, professional services and skills-building.
This collaboration, targeted support and increased access to funding embodies Creative BC’s actions for equity and inclusion in program delivery., The Program’s structure supports recipients in early development of their projects without securing the “trigger” support of a broadcaster or investor prior to application. This step has been called out as a significant barrier to enter the industry in an entrepreneurial “above-the-line” creative lead role such as producer, director, or writer.
The Program was highly competitive, demonstrating strong demand for early career stage investment in B.C. to build the province’s long-term creative talent pipeline. The following successful projects will each receive a grant of $10,000, plus additional capacity-building support:
- Kim Albright and Kat Jayme, Taglish
- Ese Atawo, LIL CLITTY
- Camille Beaudoin, Faction 49
- Black Moon Media, Lunatic: The Luna Vachon Story
- Grace Dove, SKODEN
- Drama Camp Productions, Tzinquaw Opera
- Tristin Greyeyes, A Cree Approach
- Meghna Haldar, Beej (Seed)
- Hip Hop Films, The Art of Dance
- Andrea Jin, ABG
- Caroline Lee, Ghosts of Cambie
- April Liu, The Prop Master’s Dream
- Maritza Louis, From the Westside
- Lindsay McIntyre, The Words We Can’t Speak
- Justin Neal, Boundary Bay
- On the Creek Films, BR(a)CA Take Two
- Pendulum Films, Freefall
- Mostafa Shaker, Muslim Mingle
- Sital Cinema Productions, Generation Dreamers
- Tohkapi Cinema, Woke
- Watershed Productions, Southern Interior
The Equity + Emerging Development Program covers a range of eligible activities such as research, concept development, scriptwriting, or the shooting of a few preliminary scenes to produce a project demo reel and pitch materials.
The CMPA-BC and Creative BC capacity-building initiative will allow recipients to bring in a professional consultant or service provider to help them in a key area of individual or company growth. This may include engaging a mentor, lawyer, accountant, workshop facilitator, or creative consultant. In addition to this individual support, recipients will have access to group workshops or events and peer networking facilitated by Creative BC and the CMPA-BC. The strategic aim is to support longer-term success through business acumen, skills development, and corporate growth.
Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
“Our government believes in supporting B.C. talent. This program will provide the foundation to help film makers with the skills they need to kick start their careers and go on to create great things. I look forward to seeing the stories of these diverse film makers on the big screen.”
Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC
“I’m very excited to see the recipients of this program announced, and especially more accessible capacity building support from the CMPA for diverse and new creators in our film and television industry. It has never been more essential to invest, foster and launch the careers of those who tell our stories, and the opportunity is excellent – there is more demand for creative content than ever before”
Tracey Friesen, Managing Vice President, Canadian Media Producers Association, BC Producers Branch
“Producers often learn much of their craft ‘on the job’. Each creative project is so unique, requiring different business and creative skills. We are keen for this cohort of Equity + Emerging producers and creators to wrap this development phase set up for success. The essential support of the BC government through Creative BC, coupled with targeted capacity-building, will help get these compelling stories to the screen!”
Maritza Louis, Director, Equity and Emerging Development Program recipient
“The Equity and Emerging Development Program grant is helping me clear a path in the animation industry for indigenous centred stories. Thanks to this, I can for the first time sculpt an indigenous character and bring them to life. A weight lifted. We can be seen.”
CMPA BC Producers’ Branch
For more information on the Creative BC Equity + Emerging Development Program visit Creative BC’s website: https://www.creativebc.com/programs/domestic-motion-picture-fund/equity-and-emerging-development
About Creative BC
Creative BC is an independent society created and supported by the Province to sustain and help grow British Columbia’s creative industries: motion picture, interactive and digital media, music and sound recording, and magazine and book publishing. The society delivers a wide range of programs and services with a mandate to expand B.C.’s creative economy. These activities include: administration of the provincial government’s motion picture tax credit programs; delivery of program funding and export marketing support for the sector; and provincial film commission services. Combined, these activities serve to attract inward investment and market B.C. as a partner and destination of choice for domestic and international content creation. The society acts as an industry catalyst and ambassador to help B.C.’s creative sector reach its economic, social, environmental and creative potential both at home and globally. Website: www.creativebc.com
About CMPA-BC Producers Branch
The Canadian Media Producers Association is the national advocacy organization for independent producers, representing hundreds of companies engaged in the development, production and distribution of English-language content made for television, cinema and digital media channels. We work to promote the continued success of the Canadian production sector and to ensure a bright future for the diverse content made by our members for both domestic and international audiences. The BC Producers Branch (CMPA-BC) is a provincial chapter of the CMPA, working on behalf of British Columbia production companies. Website: https://cmpa.ca/cmpa-bc/
About the Recipients
- Kim Albright and Kat Jayme, Taglish, docu-drama series
Synopsis: Based on true Filipino stories, ‘Taglish’ [(Tag)alog + Eng(lish)] is a docu-drama/comedy series that explores the unique challenges that Filipinos face in fitting into North American society.
Kim (co-creator) is a Canadian/British, half-Filipina film director whose shorts, music videos and commercials for brands such as Skittles, Mars and Dr Pepper have amassed over 1 million hits on Youtube. An Alumna of the CFC Director’s Lab and WIDC, she is gearing up to shoot her first feature film in 2021.
Kat (co-creator) is an award winning Filipina filmmaker based in Vancouver who is passionate about telling meaningful and personal stories. An alumnus of the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voice Initiative and the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Program, her previous works include Paradise Island, and Finding Big Country (Telus, ESPN, ABC, Sportsnet).
- Ese Atawo, LIL CLITTY, television series
Synopsis: A despondent 45 year old accountant rebels against everything that has kept her life “comfortable” in pursuit of becoming the next big hip hop superstar, Lil Clitty.
Bio: A graduate of Second City, Ese is a Nigerian-Canadian actor and comedian. In addition to a recent co-starring role in THE GOOD DOCTOR, she works as a senior improv instructor in Vancouver, and volunteers with high school students across Canada through the Canadian Improv Games.
- Camille Beaudoin, Faction 49, television series
Synopsis: An Indigenous teen who discovers she has superpowers, recruits an international group of Indigenous youth to battle the forces of colonialism.
Bio: Camille has produced world-class, award-winning screen content for 15 years, including multiple feature films, mobile games, online content, and TV series. She is also the founder of Girls in Film & Television (GIFT), which addresses the issue of gender parity and representation on screen by getting teen girls behind the camera with hands on learning and support. Camille is mixed Cree, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and French Canadian, alumnus of the National Screen Institute and Banff Centre for the Arts, and Facilitator of Whistler Film Festival’s Indigenous Fellowship.
- Black Moon Media, Lunatic: The Luna Vachon Story, feature documentary
Synopsis: She scared little boys and inspired a generation of women, Lunatic: The Luna Vachon Story profiles the life and tragic death of famed Canadian women’s wrestler, Luna Vachon.
Bio: Kate Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker who is passionate about storytelling and underground subcultures. Her previous work spans multiple genres and formats, including a Prism Prize nominated music video for Tanya Taqaq and Best Canadian Short at TIFF for Shi-shi-etko. Her most recent production is the Telefilm supported feature film Portraits from a Fire.
- Grace Dove, SKODEN, feature documentary
Synopsis: On the journey from scrappy Hip Hop duo in remote Kitamaat to touring packed clubs around the globe, SNOTTY NOSE REZ KIDS never stray from their deep Haisla roots.
Bio: Grace Dove is an Indigenous Actress and Director who has embraced the responsibility to lift up her audience and her community. In addition to starring roles in Monkey Beach, Oscar winning The Revenant and How It Ends (Netflix), she facilitates her youth empowerment program “Thunderbird Dreams” in communities, directing short films that are unique to each Nation.
- Drama Camp Productions, Tzinquaw Opera, feature documentary
Synopsis: The Tzinquaw Opera’s widespread acclaim broke the bounds of the Indian Act’s cultural oppression leading to a revitalization of Cowichan culture.
Bio: Harold Joe works as a cultural worker, archeology consultant, and filmmaker. He does this to preserve and teach about the values and traditions of his ancestral Cowichan culture. A Capilano film school graduate, His previous work includes the documentaries Dust n Bones, and Tzhouhalem.
- Tristin Greyeyes, A Cree Approach, feature documentary
Synopsis: A Cree Approach documents the life and work of Freda Ahenakew, a Cree mother of twelve, who dedicated her life to saving the Cree language despite immense adversity.
Bio: Tristin Greyeyes is Nehiyaw and Anishinaabe from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation who has produced several short films and is determined to empower Indigenous voices across Turtle Island through the art of filmmaking. . A lifelong learner, Tristin holds multiple certificates, diplomas and a bachelor’s degree from Capilano University and helped create the National Indigenous Student Advisory Committee with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
- Meghna Haldar, Beej (Seed), feature film
Synopsis: Beej is about the gradual loss of self and indigenous heritage as childhood friends Leher and Saajen are trapped between the State and a Maoist insurgency in the forests of Central India.
Bio: Playwright and screen-based artist, Meghna Haldar is a settler on unceded Selilwitulh territory in Vancouver. Her film and installation work has screened across the Americas, Europr and Asia. She has also taught at ECUAD, InFocus and UT Austin.
- Hip Hop Films, The Art of Dance, documentary series
Synopsis: In a world desperate for hope, The Art of Dance tells the evolutionary story of the healing power of movement, music, culture and community
Bio: Kevin Fitzgerald White (writer, director, producer) is a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker of Indigenous heritage and African descent. He is also a former DJ and music artist who has performed with the likes of Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan, Macey Grey, and Black Eyed Peas.
- Andrea Jin, ABG, television series
Synopsis: Two Asian girls from South Vancouver plan their takeover of the West coast criminal organization out from under the people they once loved.
Bio: Andrea Jin is a stand-up comedian and writer based in Vancouver, BC. Born in Shanghai, she taught herself English through watching sitcoms and stand-up on TV. Andrea has been featured on Vice, Just for Laughs and the Debaters (CBC).
- Caroline Lee, Ghosts of Cambie, mid length documentary
Synopsis: The past returns to haunt the present, as a filmmaker journeys to learn of the intersecting lives of Hong Kong migrants and the unceded lands of her former neighbourhood.
Bio: Caroline So Jung Lee is an award-winning settler Korean filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist. Through experimentation in analogue and digital filmmaking techniques, sound compositions, autoethnography, performance and documentary, she explores themes of diasporic identity, feminism, spirituality, community and ecology.
- April Liu, The Prop Master’s Dream, mid length documentary
Synopsis: A Cantonese Opera troupe shakes up Chinatown by performing the true story of Wah-Kwan Gwan, an Indigenous opera performer adopted at birth by a Chinese family.
Bio: Dr. April Liu is an independent curator and programmer who has organized numerous exhibitions, festivals, media projects and cultural initiatives across Asia, North America, and South America. Liu previously served as the Curator of Public Programs and Engagement at the UBC Museum of Anthropology and is the author of Divine Threads: The Visual and Material Culture of Cantonese Opera (2019), the first book-length study of the opera’s elaborate costumes, props, and stage designs.
- Maritza Louis, From the Westside, animated television series
Synopsis: A collection of animated stories that spans various genres including comedy, oral tradition, the supernatural, and futurism, all told through the indigenous lens.
Bio: Maritza Louis is a member of the Syilx/Secwépemc Nations in the Okanagan/ Shuswap regions of BC, Canada, and is a Visual Development Modeler | CG Artist with over 16 years of experience that includes title like GTA V, Spiderman: Homecoming, Ghostbusters, Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and DC League Of Super-Pets. Maritza is the author of her own narrative and pushes for her own continued learning and for more indigenous representation in animation as a volunteer, speaker and mentor across numerous organizations.
- Lindsay McIntyre, The Words We Can’t Speak, feature film
Synopsis: A seasoned Inuk translator in search of belonging embarks on a dangerous 1000-mile journey by dog sled with a green RCMP constable, after a terrible Arctic accident leaves her unwelcome in her community.
Bio: Lindsay McIntyre (writer, producer) is an artist of Inuit and settler Scottish descent. Her award-winning short documentaries, experimental films and digital media have shown around the world and can be found in several permanent collections.
- Justin Neal, Boundary Bay, television mini-series
Synopsis: In 1858, a First Nation battles violent settlers in Coast Salish territory. Meanwhile, in 2021, their descendants defend the same land from a nefarious corporation.
Bio: Justin Neal, a member of the Squamish Nation, earned a join MFA in Creative Writing & Theatre from UBC. He has worked on theatre and film projects across Canada and the United States, most recently premiering his stage play So Damn Proud in Vancouver in September 2021.
- On the Creek Films, BR(a)CA Take Two, mid length documentary
Synopsis: BR(a)CA Take Two tells the story of Sarah, a nice Jewish butch lesbian with a genetic mutation that might just allow her to be fully seen at last. An intimate and insightful exploration of how we are seen, how we see ourselves, and why it matters.
Bio: Ali Grant is a lesbian documentary filmmaker, based in Vancouver, BC. After 30 years working as an independent healthy communities consultant and a Ph.D in Geography, she went to school to learn how to make documentaries. With 2 short docs already under her belt, she is passionate about telling stories of defiant women who strive to change themselves and the world around them.
- Pendulum Films, Freefall, feature film
Synopsis: An LGBTQ2S+ love story between a writer and a pianist and their battle against the ALS disease.
Bio: With multiple award-winning short films already under her belt, Shanyn Maguire is a film producer who aims to develop compelling material with a distinct authentic perspective. She is passionate about the creative process and storytelling through a medium that makes her jump out of bed in the morning.
- Mostafa Shaker, Muslim Mingle, television series
Synopsis: After realizing he is gay, Youssef, a quirky, lovable immigrant attempts to discover where he fits: queer and Canadian vs. Arab and Muslim.
Bio: A comedian, writer, actor and producer based in Vancouver, BC, Mostafa has written a number of independent shorts, commercials and limited web series, as a well as acted as production manager for The Real Housewives of…. An alumnus of the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voice program, Mostafa wrote Muslim Mingle as a letter of love for his 13 year old self.
- Sital Cinema Productions, Generation Dreamers, documentary series
Synopsis: An oral history of an immigrant’s journey to Canada, told by those who made the journey, and staged by those who are Canadian because of it.
Bio: Born and raised in Vancouver, Manny Mahal (co-creator) is a self-taught writer, director and producer of South Asian descent who has independently produced and created over a dozen projects ranging from documentaries to narrative shorts and features.
Frank D. Paul (co-creator) is a writer and director of Indigenous descent. Born in Ottawa, but a self-described military brat, he has lived in almost ever major Canadian city (and a host of small towns) from coast to coast.
- Tohkapi Cinema, Woke, television series
Synopsis: Detective Hawk investigates a series of gruesome murders that lead him to an ancient supernatural warrior, Crow Wolf, who has been awakened from his centuries old slumber. As detective Hawk closes in on the truth, he discovers the shocking bond they share.
Bio: Petie is a Cree filmmaker from the Driftpile Cree Nation in North Central Alberta. She is a gifted natural storyteller, a craft honed and developed through years of performing the hoop dance since childhood. Today she is a force for bringing beautiful, powerful and compelling stories through writing, producing and creative input into a growing list of meaningful productions that help move and educate people to make this a better world.
- Watershed Productions, Southern Interior, television series
Synopsis: Southern Interior is a soulful sketch comedy series diving into the dynamics of a bunch of locals living in the bohemian mountain town of Nelson BC.
Bio: Amy Bohigian is dedicated to creating story based content that creates positive social impact, working with organizations such as the NFB and the Knowledge Network, as well as being on faculty with the Kooteney School of the Arts. Amy and her wife, author Jane Byers, are currently raising their two children in Nelson, BC.