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Feel in colour with Daniel Code and Graham Kew

Colour Study is a meditative and evocative experimental short film that will entrance you. Writers Charles Demers, Chelene Knight and Shazia Hafiz Ramji take us on a dreamy journey through ROYGBIV, while organizing objects and locations by their exact colour. Eager to share this visual narrative, we touched base with Graham Kew and Daniel Code, the filmmakers behind Colour Study.

 

Watch Colour Study on CBC Gem here

 

Tell us about Colour Study, the inspiration, the people involved, the narrative

Graham Kew: The three narratives in Colour Study were written and narrated by Chelene Knight, Charles Demers, and Shazia Hafiz Ramji. At the outset, we gave the writers basic parameters and shared information about colour theory and colour science, but then we just tried our best to stay out of their way. Reading each of their first drafts was both exciting and daunting. I do love that in film you can hand over control to a writer or a composer or a production designer and then they come back with something so creative that it just blows your mind and elevates the entire project to a whole new level. We got very lucky with the whole team on this project.

Daniel Code: The concept started to take shape after I found a video about scientist Neil Harbisson and his sonochromatic scale, and how he created a camera to transpose light frequencies into sound frequencies to help with his colour blindness. After that I dove deep, listening to pure sound frequencies while looking at different colours. Once I got off my laptop, I noticed that the colours in the room had really popped for me as if my eyes had been through a colour workout or something. I started thinking about the order of colour and creating an art piece based on this experience.

 

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

 

Tell us a bit about yourselves, your careers and what inspires you

GK: Anthem Jackson is the name of our production company. Dan and I have both worked in the industry for years across a variety of departments, but AJ is our creative outlet. We want to produce innovative and authentic projects that matter to us.

DC: I’ve always been inspired to work on projects that provide a certain level of creative and social fulfilment. I’ve stayed pretty clear of the Hollywood movie machine to focus on smaller projects with friends and people I enjoy collaborating with. Sometimes you have to treat it as a creative lifestyle rather than a job.

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

What advice do you have for emerging BIPOC filmmakers?

DC: Building a community is important and finding allies in that community can go a long way.  Work with your friends and/or develop relationships with the people you connect with on sets. Network at bars, art galleries, clubs, or places outside of film work environments. I’ve always found the best networking relationships are with people I’ve shared a meal, coffee or drink with randomly in a place people were out just having fun.  Volunteer in the area you want to learn something from and don’t waste your time on areas you don’t need. Learn as much as you can for your goals.  Put some sweat into those areas until you feel comfortable and then let people know with conviction exactly what you do in film.

It’s an uphill battle in the film industry as a BIPOC. Quite often I’ve been surrounded by primarily white creatives and it’s been a challenge to make your voice heard.  Having a more diverse video production can really create a beautiful and comfortable creative atmosphere. It allows room in the project for different cultural perspectives that otherwise wouldn’t be noticed without this diversity.  You would be surprised at how many BIPOC creatives are out there and a lot of them like myself would be willing to help foster their talent or point them in the right direction.

GK: I wouldn’t presume to give advice, but if any emerging BIPOC filmmakers reading this are struggling to break into documentary editing, they can hit me up at graham@anthemjackson.com and I’ll try my best to connect with them.

However, I will give advice to well-established non-BIPOC filmmakers… Reach out and see who you can help get a leg up! The mentors in my career have been incredibly important to me and it’s a relationship you will most likely enjoy and get a lot out of.

 

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

Do you have any upcoming projects you can share with us?

GK: We are developing a scripted series with Shazia – one of the writers from Colour Study – and we have two documentary projects in the works, one of which is about a legendary 1970s Nigerian Afrobeat music group.

C/O Anthem Jackson Productions

 

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Terell Safadi and his experience as a Black musician in Canada

Terell Safadi‘s impactful lyrics in ‘Black History’ are markedly resonant and powerful with a call to action to listen and a call for equality. ‘Black History’ holds powerful and poetic messaging to carry you through the visual narrative of Terell’s own experiences, the injustices of continuous police brutality and the effects of slavery. The video for ‘Black History’ was released earlier this year in honour of Black History Month. We spoke with Terell about bringing his lyrics to life, navigating the music industry as a Black musician and his advice to emerging artists.

 

Terell Safadi, Black History


What did the first days of your career look like? How did you break into the industry?

I first broke in locally with a remix called “Black Red Yellow” It was a song about the Vancouver Canucks’ old retro jersey colours. After that, I started to gain exposure on a national level with my videos airing on Much Music and touring across Canada with Bone Thugs N Harmony.

What drives your work?
Knowing that I have a talent and voice that needs to be used to motivate, make people feel good, and sometimes give them something they can relate to so they know they aren’t alone.

What have been, and continue to be the barriers you face as a BIPOC musician navigating the industry?
I can only really speak for the Canadian music industry right now, but there’s definitely a lot of push back towards Black artists in rap in Vancouver. Only a hand full of Black artists have broken out of Vancouver ever. Vancouver’s Black population is only around 1%, that being said, I feel like we don’t really have a voice here and the voice that we do have is silenced, we aren’t as unified as we should be. I can’t really say why but white artists definitely get more fan support, and I know the quality of all the music is very competitive.

 

Terell Safadi by Jalil Ayaz Chaudry

 

What parts of yourself as a musician do you hope to see more of in the music industry?
More truth, more people being who they actually are. More people standing up for us, more people actually making good music and not just mindless stuff to get streams and views and bring a negative view of the culture.

The music video for your song ‘Black History’ came out this February for Black History month, tell us about your experiences that shaped and informed the lyrics.
These lyrics are a reflection of my life, what I stand for, and what I’ve been through as a Black man. I was finally able to articulate all the things my friends and I talk about in private, the frustration with the system, the anger that goes along with watching someone with the same skin colour as you be treated less than an animal.

Tell us a bit about the process in the creation of your video, how did you and your team bring your words to life?
Because I was able to get video funding from Creative BC and the Vancouver Music Fund I had the budget to hire all of the proper people and put them in place to execute my vision. I was able to really tell my story and also portray parts of my life like police using excessive force.

What message do you want people to take away most with your lyrics in ‘Black History’?
“It ain’t White VS Black, this is right VS wrong, this is life VS death”. A lyric from the song that I wrote that before George Floyd’s tragic murder. I just wanted people to understand I just want equality, nothing more nothing less. I don’t want people’s pity I want people’s understanding. It baffles me that some Canadians think that we don’t go through the same racial injustices as America, you can’t tell me we don’t because I have experienced them first hand!

What advice do you have to young and emerging musicians trying to break into the industry?
Take advantage of the resources we have at our fingertips, if you’re Canadian, look at our grant systems and see what kind of funding you’re eligible for. Use data to market your music. Collaborate with other artists on the come up and put your platforms together to create more of a buzz. Too many artists out there want to be the quarterback and the receiver but you can’t be both, BUILD WITH PEOPLE!!!

Do you have any upcoming projects we can look out for?
Yes, I have an EP coming this JULY 😉 and a few other releases to set the summer off, be on the lookout for that, and the videos to roll out with it. Follow me on Instagram to keep up to date!

 

Terell Safadi by Lucho Berzek

 

Black History Video Credits
Producer: Angela Harris (Fair Wend Entertainment Services)
Production Assistant: Garrett Vandusen
Director: Terell Safadi
Videography & Editing: Ronan Bryson
Styled: Style Me Rude

 

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Thunderbird Entertainment wins prestigious Peabody award for ‘Molly of Denali’ series

Thunderbird Entertainment Group announced that their animated series ‘Molly of Denali’ was a Peabody award winner this year in the children’s and youth category. Molly of Denali follows the resourceful Molly Mabray, who has cultural heritage from three Athabascan groups: the Gwich’in, Koyukon and Dena’ina, as she helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in interior Alaska. She and her friends explore the epic surroundings and rich Native culture that is home. The series is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text skills through video content, interactive games, and real-world activities. The series is co-produced by WGBH Boston and the company’s kids and family division Atomic Cartoons, for PBS KIDS and CBC Kids.

 

Molly of Denali 

 

Often compared to the Pulitzer Prize for literature, Peabody Award winners represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and digital media. Sixty nominees were announced earlier this year from approximately 1,300 entries across news, entertainment, documentary, children’s, public service, and web/interactive programming. From those 60 nominees, Molly of Denali is one of just 30 productions chosen to receive a prestigious Peabody award.

Since its 2019 premiere, Molly of Denali has been widely recognized as the first nationally distributed children’s series in the United States to feature an Indigenous lead character. More than 60 Alaska Native actors, writers, advisors, producers and musicians are involved across the production, which is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text skills through video content, interactive games, and real-world activities.

 

 

In Canada, Molly of Denali airs Wednesday and Saturday mornings on CBC and is also available on the free CBC Gem streaming service.

‘Who Am I’, directed by Adhel Arop

‘Who Am I’ tells the story of Adhel Arop’s quest for identity as she reconciles with her mother’s past as a child soldier in South Sudan.

 

Adhel Arop is a two-time award-winning documentary filmmaker residing in Vancouver, BC. Her career began in 2018 when she was awarded the TELUS Storyhive documentary film grant, with additional funding from Creative BC and mentorship from the National Screen Institute, which led her to complete her first 20-minute documentary, ‘Who Am I.”

 

Who Am I (2019) Directed by Adhel Arop

 

The film premiered and sold out in July 2019 in Vancouver, BC, going on to win two awards at festivals for outstanding achievements in the short documentary category. This film provided a platform to showcase the Canadian immigrant experience, something she authentically achieved by embracing her narrative of being a child born in the Kakuma refugee camp and drawing from her own stories of immigrating to Canada at the age of four. Her work aims to explore a social justice narrative, focusing on the untold stories of refugees and immigrants that are a part of Canada’s diverse identity. Through the medium of documentary filmmaking, she captures stories, many close to her heart and home, which would otherwise go untold.

Adhel now aims to pursue a career in filmmaking and advocating for renewable energy options in developing countries.

Please read, share and engage in this content. 

YES MAMA, A Tribute to all Mothers by Missy D

This Mother’s Day, Missy D released a video for YES MAMA, a tribute to all mothers. This physically-distanced music video will leave you dancing.

 

YES MAMA Artistic Team
Written by Missy D
Mixed and Mastered by David Tallarico
Beats by Mantra

Directors: Alexander Farah and Lawrence Le Lam
Cinematographer: Leonardo Harim
Production Designer: Elizabeth Cairns
Colourist: Tomasz Wagner
Production Company: Wallop Film

Marie Clements captures the beauty of the land and people in Red Snow

 

Red Snow follows Dylan, a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic, caught in an ambush in Afghanistan. His capture and interrogation by a Taliban Commander releases a cache of memories connected to the love and death of his Inuit cousin, Asana, and binds him closer to a Pashtun family as they escape across treacherous landscapes and through a blizzard that becomes their key to survival.

 


Marie Clements, Red Snow

 

The British Columbia film written and directed by Galiano Island filmmaker Marie Clements has gained acclaim since its debut at Vancouver International Film Festival in 2019. The award-winning feature opens this Friday, March 13th in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

 

Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I am Métis/Dene filmmaker with an independent media production company, Marie Clements Media, specializing in the development, creation and production of innovative works that ignite an Indigenous and intercultural reality.


What were the early days of your career like
?
I originally started out as an actor, then writer and producer, and director in theatre and then formed a theatre company to produce works I was committed to bringing to stage. In some ways this has mirrored my transition to documentary, film and television, creating and producing works through my company MCM. Starting in theatre gave me an incredible appreciation for every single part of creation and a kind of single-minded discipline that was crucial to not only survive my own artistic goals but the many challenges that was put in front of me in doing so.

How did you get to where you are now?
We make decisions along the way that will determine the how of it, and ultimately what we want and need to create. There’s a time when these decisions aren’t conscious really but as you evolve in the doing, you begin to understand that your work defines you, and that you define it. I think there is a great responsibility to this but also a clarity that is freeing.

 


Marie Clements

What inspires you as a creator? What are your influences?
I have been impacted by artists that have gone before me, but James Baldwin helped me hang on. He gave witness to his time. His voice was undeniably unique yet inclusive, his perceptions razor-sharp and his humanity unapologetically massive. I found these attributes talked to me when I was younger and that it inspired me to use who I am at this time in history, my family’s history, this country’s history and our present realities as a resource in breaking a story that speaks to me. I am like so many filmmakers in the sense I am propelled into story by the influences of other artists, activists, musicians, current events and untold stories rising. Story is everywhere.


What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Know what your job is. Know how to start and also finish. Take responsibility when you should and don’t pass the buck.

Align yourself with like-minded and passionate people that hold integrity in the same ways you do. Beware of the posers. Rejection is part of the business. You are one “no” away from yes. Work hard. Be persistent. Lean into it. Take the risk of being extraordinary.


What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Red Snow took nine years to get to the screen, so I am grateful and proud to have it realized with the artists I worked with. I think there is an accomplishment in committing to stories you can’t not tell. This doesn’t always make it easy, but it makes it incredibly worth it on so many levels.

 


Red Snow

Tell us about RED SNOW and your process or influence in the creation of the film?
Dylan, a Gwich’in soldier from the Canadian Arctic, is caught in an ambush in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His capture and interrogation from a Taliban Commander releases a cache of memories connected to the love and death of his Inuit cousin, Asana, and binds him closer to a Pashtun family as they escape across treacherous landscapes and through a blizzard that becomes their key to survival. Filmed on location in Canada’s Northwest Territories and the desert interior region of British Columbia (the Ashcroft Band Lands, Cache Creek and Kamloops). Over a rigorous 20-day production schedule, the Red Snow team worked in temperatures as high as +38 degrees and as low as -40 to capture the beauty of the land and people. Red Snow was filmed in four languages – Gwich’in, Inuvialuktun, Pashto and English.

 

What’s next for Marie?
I am currently working on a slate of projects with my company MCM including Bones of Crows, a mini-series and Tombs, a feature drama.  

 


Red Snow

Celebrate International Women’s Day at Let’s Hear It!


Mamarudegyal MTHC

On March 7th, Music BC and Cushy Entertainment are hosting a live showcase in celebration of International Women’s Day. The line-up features Turunesh, Mamarudegyal MTHC,  Missy D, DJ Denise and special guest host Tonye. This event is brought to us in part by Music BC’s Let’s Hear It! showcases.


Tonye

The showcase series offers a unique chance for artists to establish a sense of community by connecting with fans and members of the music industry through live performances and meaningful networking experiences. Let’s Hear It! champions the development of emerging artists and encourages inclusion and diversity in BC’s music industry.

 

 


Missy D (bottom left) Turunesh (top right)

Music BC is a non-profit society serving the British Columbia music industry by providing essential information, education, funding, advocacy, showcasing, and networking opportunities. Music BC is dedicated to developing the spirit, growth, and sustainability of the BC music community by supporting artists of all genres and music professionals throughout the industry.

Let’s Hear It! Live is supported by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia, The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings (FACTOR) and the Government of Canada.

Purchase tickets here.

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The Art of Asking with Nav Nagra, Publisher of Room Magazine

On March 11th, Room Magazine is hosting its fourth annual literary and arts festival celebrating diverse Canadian writers and artists, Growing Room. The festival was created in commitment to deepen learning about inclusion and accessibility, both within the systemic structures of the festival and the creative curation. Growing Room is a celebration, a protest, a reflection, a re-visioning, a gathering, a question, and a dream.

Nav Nagra, who was recently appointed as the new publisher of Room Magazine is no stranger, having been a collective member since 2014 holding various roles. Her passion for the publishing industry has taken her through various initiatives and organizations throughout the province including consultancy with Breathing Space Creative, serving on the board of Vancouver Art Book Fair and the Professional Development Committee of AFP Vancouver.

We speak to Nav about her journey with Room Magazine and multi-disciplinary skills that have afforded her a wealth of experience in British Columbia’s publishing industry.

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and Room Magazine.

I’m a first-generation Canadian and I feel like this and the culture I was raised within really informed my interest in storytelling. Most of my life was spent living in a multi-generational house with a Grandmother who loved sharing stories and quite frankly, gossip and I think those interactions made me want to become a storyteller. I made sure my education was always centered around books and writing and then shortly before I graduated from university, I found out about Room Magazine and inquired about getting involved with the magazine. I started at Room Magazine in 2014 as the Advertising Coordinator, moved onto our Editorial roster and now am extremely humbled to be Publisher. I have published a few small pieces of poetry and hope this year will bring about a lot more writing for me.  I’m also currently working on what I hope will be a novel.

 

For those who may not be familiar with B.C.’s magazine publishing industry, what are your thoughts on the ever-evolving landscape? What does the future of magazine publishing look like?

I think the future of magazine publishing will see magazines appearing on more than one platform in more than one format. We’re seeing it now with magazines starting podcasts, YouTube channels, and other types of audience engagement. I don’t think print is dead and I may be naive in thinking so, but I don’t see print going anywhere for a while. I do think that magazines need to be a bit nimble going forward and work towards becoming as digitally accessible as possible while maintaining a print presence.

 

What were the early days of your career like? How did you get to where you are now?

The early days of my career were really formed by me asking a lot of questions and finding ways of getting involved in editorial work. I have an accidental art history background and this led to my work at an art gallery and creating artist catalogues for emerging and established artists. I was almost rabid in my university days trying to find any publication that would allow me to write an article or blog post about pretty much anything. As I moved within my career, I always made sure that I could do something that would bolster my editing abilities and allow me to write. I guess I am where I am now because I would always say yes and then scope out the next opportunity. And though I acknowledge that not everyone has the privilege of doing this, I am very glad I was able to.

 

What inspires you as a creator?

I am very inspired by music and movies. I love reading but I find that I am so baffled by the talent of the writers I read that I never feel I can create such amazing works so I take the emotions I feel from movies and music and translate that into my writing and other creations. My influences change so quickly it’s really hard to narrow it down. Right now, I would say from a writing standpoint, I am most inspired by Carmen Maria Machado, Roxane Gay, and Chelene Knight. Oh! And Fleabag – I found so much inspiration from that show.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Ask questions! The art of asking is real and if you’re able to, ask lots of questions. One thing that I like to do if I’m interested in a certain aspect of the industry is I ask if I can go to coffee with someone just to find out how they got where they are or if they have any advice. For the most part, folks are more than happy to sit down with someone to share some wisdom. I know that I would not be where I am if I hadn’t just asked.

 

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

As of now, it’s definitely becoming the Publisher of Room Magazine. If you had asked me in 2014 where I thought my path would lead with Room, I would have never thought I would end up as Publisher. I am so humbled in my role and by the team at Room.

 

Are there any upcoming events or initiatives in the pipeline for Room Magazine?

Yes! Our Growing Room literary and arts festival is happening in Vancouver from March 11th – 15th and features so many amazing artists and writers. You can find out more and get your tickets at festival.roommagazine.com.

 

Visit Room Magazine’s website for more information.

Michael Neill and Brian Lam of Arsenal Pulp Press Named 2019 ABPBC Award Recipients

Yesterday evening the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (ABPBC) honoured the recipients of two awards recognizing outstanding contributions to British Columbia’s publishing industry. Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press received the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award, and Kelowna-based Michael Neill, bookseller and owner of Mosaic Books and TBM Bookmanager, received the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award. The recipients were honoured at the annual Book Publishing Conference in Vancouver on February 13, 2020.

The Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year award is presented to an active British Columbian book publishing company that has in recent times earned the respect and applause of the community of publishers for a specific publishing project, an extraordinary contribution to the B.C. publishing community, and/or its extended commitment to excellence in publishing. This year’s recipient, Arsenal Pulp Press, started in 1971 as an alternative small press specializing in literature and politics. They have evolved over the past decades to become one of Canada’s leading independent presses, specializing in LGBTQ literature, books by writers of colour, graphic novels, books on cultural issues, and literary fiction. Some of Arsenal Pulp Press’ recent notable works include Aaron Chapman’s Vancouver After Dark, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Care Work and Louis-Georges Tin’sThe Dictionary of Homophobia, a personal favourite of Brian Lam, founder and owner of Arsenal Pulp Press.

The Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award is presented annually by the Association of Book Publishers of BC to an individual or individuals who have made a significant contribution to the book publishing industry in the province. Named for the pioneering publisher and founder of Gray’s Publishing, the Gray Campbell Award recognizes the importance of the many individuals who comprise the book industry; their energy and creativity are essential to the continued creation and dissemination of books that tell our stories. This year’s recipient is Michael Neill, founder and president of Bookmanager and owner of Okanagan’s largest independent bookstore, Mosiac Books. Bookmanager is a leader and invaluable point-of-sale provider that has provided bookstores across North America the ability to advance their services

For more updates on the BC Book Publishing Conference visit ABPBC’s website.

Arsenal Pulp Press
Book Manager
Mosaic Books

Rob Thomson, Music Curator, Full Circle

Rob Thomson has been playing music since 2003, yet music has been a part of his life since he was born. His dad’s a musician, his sister’s a musician, and music has always been in their house. 

As a teenager, Rob didn’t talk much with his dad, and so music became a way for them to connect. “I remember seeing him up on stage, this long-haired, Native dude playing guitar, and realizing, my dad’s pretty cool! I guess it was a natural progression to form a family band.”

Music has always been a way for Rob to connect with his heritage. Music helped him find bits and pieces of his culture, and it showed him that music could help tell a story. Rob believes that the story is growing. “When I started to play music, it was about myself. Then, it was about the people around me and my life experiences. Now that I’m in my 30s, with a daughter, I see now that it’s also about making a better world.”

When Rob first stepped into Full Circle more than ten years ago, it was as a performer. When the Olympics came to town, he had the opportunity to play in the house band at the Roundhouse Community Centre, in Vancouver. He was then asked to take on the role of music curator. He immediately connected with Creative BC to get some funding to do the kind of work he envisioned. “I had all of these ideas I wanted to do, and Creative BC helped make them a reality. I started to organize showcases and workshops, cultural training and outreach, all the while working on building relationships and collaborations. All of these things came together.”

When Rob first started teaching workshops, he wasn’t sure it was for him. “When I first started facilitating, it was the hardest thing I ever did. I was afraid I was inadequate. I was mostly self-taught, and was going into situations I knew nothing about.”

Rob now runs workshops around the province and beyond, providing resources, training, and best practices to Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. For Rob, this path is one of constant learnings. He is always learning from his mentors who share with him what he did well and what he can do differently.

According to Rob, the best leaders are those who are compassionate and understanding while also holding people accountable. “When I lead a workshop, it’s a big balance of supporting people while also holding them responsible. I want to give people agency and then see what they can do.”

Rob believes the conversation around reconciliation has created a groundswell, as people are becoming more and more aware of Indigenous history and culture. “We are rich with artists and Indigenous music, people just didn’t know about us for many years. Now we have a studio space to create and to gather, and that’s been huge. We are starting to see the next wave in Indigenous music, built on the years and years of work that programmers and artists have done.”

In order to best support Indigenous artists, Rob believes we have to slow down. “We need time to develop healthy relationships, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Music connects all of us together, and can make us stronger. I didn’t realize that the work I do is community-based, that it’s grassroots, but it is. It’s the seed of development and a reflection of what’s going on in the world around us.”

Rob is a curator for Full Circle: First Nations Performance. They are hosting Talking Stick Festival from February 18-29.