Victoria residents Simone Blaise (left) and Carey Newman were awarded $50,000 each to produce their documentaries. (Creators/Storyhive.com)

Two Victoria storytellers win $50k to create documentaries

Telus Storyhive grants awarded to 30 filmmakers across B.C. and Alberta

Greater Victoria residents Simone Blaise and Carey Newman were awarded $50,000 to produce documentaries. The funding comes from Telus Storyhive which supports new and mid-career filmmakers in different genres.

Blaise and Newman were among the 382 applicants who sought the $50,000 grant from Telus Storyhive’s Documentary Edition. The two Victoria-based storytellers were chosen along with 28 others across B.C. and Alberta. The winners will produce documentary films that highlight local folks as well as the history and culture of their respective communities.

The films don’t have to be about the city the filmmaker lives in, but it must reflect the community, explained Smita Acharyya, a Telus Storyhive project manager and former filmmaker.

READ ALSO: Gender transition of Victoria’s ‘Penny Girl’ detailed in short documentary

Acharyya pointed out that the Storyhive grant also comes with mentorship, workshops and all manner of support. Some of the winners are first-time filmmakers and they will receive training and skills to take to their next projects, she said.

“It doesn’t have to be someone fresh out of film school,” said Acharyya. “They just need to have a story to tell and reside in B.C. or Alberta.”

The mentorship aspect is one of the things that drew Blaise, a dancer trained in several genres and a student at the University of Victoria, to apply for a Storyhive grant. A friend was awarded the grant last year and Blaise observed the process. The same friend encouraged Blaise to apply this year withan idea she’d been sitting on for awhile.

Blaise will be producing her first documentary. Dance Like Everybody Is Watching, follows three black dancers from Victoria and will provide a platform for them to share the challenges they face including exclusion, tokenism, stereotypes, cultural appropriation and racism.

“I want to explore the dynamics going on and allow black people to enjoy being in their bodies,” she said.

Blaise and her crew will start filming in September while she continues to go to school, work and teach dance. She invites the community to get involved and follow along in her process through the documentary’s Facebook page of the same name.

READ ALSO: Storyhive looking to fund Indigenous filmmakers

Newman, the other local grant winner and an advocate for Indigenous rights, is currently filming another project in Europe. He will direct The Oaklands Totem which discusses the new wave of including Indigenous learning in public education with a focus on Oaklands Elementary. The local school has been adding Indigenous learning to their classrooms and carving a totem pole which has impacted the students.

The documentaries must be completed by June 2020. They will then be uploaded to the Storyhive YouTube channel and put on Telus Optik for the public to enjoy.

Applications for the Telus Storyhive Web Series Edition close on Sept. 19. Forty applicants will be awarded $20,000 to produce pilots and two of them will receive an extra $60,000 to produce their whole series.

“It might seem intimidating, but if you have a story to tell that’s reflective of your community, you should apply,” said Acharyya.

To view previous films produced by Storyhive winners, to learn more or to apply for a grant, visit storyhive.com.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Simone Blaise’s (left) documentary will feature several black female dancers in Victoria including Jasmine Bailey (middle) and Kemi Craig (right). (Photo by Yamila Franco)

Just Posted

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Central Saanich strawberry farmer reports bumper crop

Strawberry season could last well into October

GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

Seniors’ care one of many causes supported by GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon

Oak Bay community invited to News’ 5th annual readers tea

Oak Bay News, Carlton House host Sept. 17 afternoon tea

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

VIDEO: Greater Victoria, here’s the news you missed this weekend

Tragic bus crash, Pacific FC win and Terry Fox runs

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read