With the influx of media being shared through online platforms — video clips, documentaries and movies have become one of the most influential forms of quick and visual sharing.
In other words — one of the best times to share the stories and voices of indigenous people is now and one of the best mediums to share with is through cinema.
This prompted the CBC New Indigenous Voices (formerly NSI New Voices) which is a culturally-sensitive film, TV and digital media training course to expose indigenous people aged 18 to 35 to a plethora of challenging and creative employment opportunities.
Headed by a faculty including the likes of Lisa Meeches, Ursula Lawson, and Kaya Wheeler, the 14-week and full-time course for 2017 began on May 8 and finalized on August 10 with a graduation ceremony. The program is also a paid internship.
Of the nine selected applicants was Andrew Lown, 35, Oneida, who moved to Winnipeg to be able to attend the course. Lown explained that he heard about the program in the Spring and applied without believing he would be chosen.
“It’s a great program for indigenous people,” said Lown. “About a week after I applied I got a phone call from Kaya Wheeler.”
Lown then moved onto an interview with the faculty.
“I did the interview and a couple of weeks later I heard that I was chosen, which was just one of the most surreal things ever,” he said.
Lown’s Grandmother grew up on Six Nations, but hardly spoke of anything traditional and this made his experience in Winnipeg all the more fulfilling for him. As the program aims to offer skills development training, production practice and a work placement, for Lown in particular, it has also opened up a world of culturally connective opportunity as well.
“When I went out to Winnipeg, it was big time learning experience. I did my first sharing circle, my first pipe ceremony, and my first traditional feast. And the thing about it too for some of the people in my class, it was their first time too,” he said.
Eleven films which were created by 18 NSI students, were screened at the 2017 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival from November 23 to 26. This included the work of Lown and his partners Jesse Spence and Alexis Leask on the short film Forgotten – which was also recently screened at the LA Skins Fest.
In the future, the option is open to apply for the program, just check out the NSI website at http://www.nsi-canada.ca/courses/cbc-new-indigenous-voices/apply/ to see if you can take a chance on this fulfilling opportunity.
1: Left to right: Ursula Lawson, Nikita Day, Tyshana Hobson, Gindalee Ouskun, Ryan Wilson, Chris
Eastman, Andrew Lown, Lisa Meeches, Melanie Hadley, Michael Black, Kaya Wheeler, Jesse Spence
and Alexis Leask. Submitted photo
2: Andrew Lown, 35, Oneida. Submitted photo
3: A snapshot from the short film Forgotten by Andrew Lown, Jesse Spence and Alexis Leask during
their enrolment in the CBC New Indigenous Voices program. Submitted photo