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Creative Industries Year in Review

From a year leading with nothing short of breaking headlines, we look to the year’s story highlights from the creative industries sector. From new initiatives to heart-warming good news, here are some of the highlights from book and magazine publishing, interactive and digital media, motion picture and music industries:

 

Book + Magazine Publishing

1. Local publishers entering new chapter

B.C.’s book publishers have shown resilience, adapting quickly to the new reality. They have optimized their websites for online orders and offered discounts, partnered with local booksellers to replace in-store author events—critical to building word of mouth about new releases—with online readings, and offered more flexible usage terms to educators and librarians for the use of BC books in remote learning environments.

 


Photo by Grant Harder for Nuvo Magazine

2. Ian Williams Is Changing the Rules of the Canadian Novel

For Ian Williams, winning the Giller marks a movement forward in Canadian literature, where “some voice or some attention is given to the unruly, difficult child.”

3. B.C. colouring book: Orca image to keep you creative during COVID-19 isolation

If your eyes are needing a break from all the online scrolling to read the latest updates about COVID-19, you’re in luck.

4. Get on island time with Gabriola’s new magazine: FOLKLIFE

As the only semi-annual lifestyle print magazine solely featuring content from the Gulf Islands, FOLKLIFE celebrates and connects those living simply, and as an art form, through engaging interviews, stories, photographs, recipes, and art.

 

Interactive + Digital Media

5. This free summer program will teach B.C. teens to make music for video games and animation

DigiMusic’s free summer program facilitated an online format for B.C. high school students from grade 7 to 12 to create music for video games and animation.

6. Bringing Indigenous Voices to the Tech Sector

Indigenous peoples are the youngest and fastest growing demographic in Canada, yet in 2018 only 1.2 per cent of Canada’s tech workers identified as Indigenous. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called for the adoption of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a pathway to ensure equitable access to jobs, training and educational opportunities for Indigenous people.

 

7. B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital-twinning’ software to better manage territory

TimberOps functions as the “digital twin” of more than 350,000 hectares of unceded Mowachaht-Muchalaht territory near the west coast of Vancouver Island, mapping rivers, lakes, mountains, roads, trails and buildings as well as the locations of old villages and archaeological sites.

8. The Last Kids on Earth Video Game Confirmed for 2021

A video game adaptation of the Netflix series The Last Kids on Earth will bring a more kid-friendly zombie apocalypse to PC and consoles next year.

8. Gaming studio Phoenix Labs spreads wings with expansion to Montreal, L.A.

Expansion plans follow Burnaby-based game developer’s acquisition earlier this year

Arthroscopy

9. Precision OS Makes ‘Breakthrough’ in Arthroscopy Education

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Precision OS Technology said it has created a first-of-its-kind arthroscopy simulator available on a mobile, wireless device (Oculus Quest) which will also be used by Conmed International for surgeon education.

 

Motion Picture

10. Join VAFF’s campaign to #Elimin8hate

Vancouver Asian Film Festival provides an anonymous and safe reporting environment and resources for Canadians of Asian ancestry experiencing anti-Asian attacks.

11. Ryan Reynolds to use part of his own salary to hire BIPOC crew members on upcoming film

Vancouver-born movie star Ryan Reynolds said it was time to see more Black, Indigenous and people of colour on film sets and launched a new initiative, the Group Effort Initiative, to help make it happen.

12. Pioneering Remote Studio VFX Legion Launches Full-Scale BC Division

VFX Legion, a remote boutique-style global company, has announced the opening of a full-scale division in British Columbia. An early proponent of the virtualization of visual effects, industry veteran James David Hattin launched the company in 2013, introducing a groundbreaking collaborative work-from-home business model almost a decade before COVID-19 made social distancing essential.

13. How Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival found opportunity in a pandemic year

For film festivals, 2020 has presented two choices: cancel – and hope that any costs saved by furloughing staff and securing possible venue refunds will help offset inevitable 2021 losses – or take a big chance and go online only. Neither are ideal. But Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival, the country’s second-largest doc fest after Toronto’s Hot Docs, found an opportunity in the dilemma.

13. Made-in-Vancouver animated series Molly of Denali wins a Peabody Award

The made-in-Vancouver animated series Molly of Denali has been awarded a George Foster Peabody Award. Co-produced by Vancouver’s Atomic Cartoons and WGBH Boston for PBS KIDS and CBC Kids, the show is the first nationally distributed children’s series in the United States to feature an Indigenous lead character.

14. B.C. animation school offers free help to schools scrambling to get online amid COVID-19

A Burnaby-based animation school that has operated 100% online since its inception in 2013 is offering free use of some of its online resources to schools scrambling to find ways to keep learning going during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Music + Sound Recording

15. Singer’s live performance in computer-generated nightclub could be a model for concerts in a COVID world
Using animation technology usually associated with video games and motion pictures, Jill Barber was transported from a sterile suburban studio into a once-legendary Vancouver supper club, The Palomar, torn down more than 60 years ago.

16. TikTok trend launches Vancouver band Mother Mother up the charts

Ryan Guldemond says he believes luck, good timing and “a little pixie dust” led to his band Mother Mother catching fire on TikTok in recent weeks. The lead singer and guitarist for the Vancouver rock act says he was surprised when, seemingly out of nowhere, three tracks from their 2008 album O My Heart spiked in popularity on the music-fuelled social app.

17. Vancouver Island theatre reinvents live performances with hybrid model

Small audience and live streaming are how Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre will get through pandemic

Mint Records Is Almost Its Own Character in the Trailer for the New Hulu Show 'Woke'

18. Mint Records Is Almost Its Own Character in the Trailer for the New Hulu Show ‘Woke’

From Mission: Impossible to Riverdale, set designers have absolutely loved the output of Mint Records over the years. Today, however, the decorated Vancouver label may have had its strongest showing yet in the new trailer for the Hulu series Woke.

19. Vancouver’s NuZi Collective launches Black Therapy & Advocacy Fund
The new initiative from the DJ collective and promoter group aims to connect black residents of Vancouver with therapy and mental health resources. The goal is to provide ten to 15 hours of therapy for ten disabled and LGBTQIA+ black residents free of charge, hiring advocates to act as a liaison between recipients and mental health providers.

20. B.C. musicians to play free hour-long livestream concert Thursday

As a first step to support the music industry, the B.C. government is partnering with Creative BC to launch Showcase BC. This new online hub brings a variety of live performances, entertainment and content to British Columbians, so they can stay connected while staying home.

Missed your story? Submit your creative industry story to info@creativebc.com.

Explore the bookmarks of Haley Blais’ life through ‘Below the Salt’

On August 25, 2020, Vancouver’s Haley Blais released her debut full-length album, Below the Salt, through the new local, women-owned music label Tiny Kingdom. The album, produced by Louise Burns and Tennis, is a follow-up to her much-praised EP Let Yourself Go.

Haley has been DIY-ing it since 2014, turning out song after song of defiant scream-into-your-pillow bedroom pop anthems recorded in her actual bedroom. Haley speaks candidly of the journey that was the creation of Below the Salt, life in isolation, and the moments that made her realize music was for her.

Photography by Kyla Schnellert

 

Tell us about Below the Salt and the influences behind the album

This is my first album, so influences were plenty and chaotic. I think I got a lot out of my system in experimenting with different genres while recording – you’ll hear Carole King, or the Cranberries, or Liz Phair, Angel Olsen and more. Every song is a specific bookmark in my life.

 

 

 

Do you have any sweet anecdotes you can share while creating your album? We’d love to know about your experience working with Tennis!
I think I black out anything exciting because my brain can’t handle it, but working with Tennis was such a dream, they brought such a lightness to the songs that were originally darker and brooding.

 

How do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
Whatever emotion it compels them to feel. I love when I write a song that may mean something completely different to me than what someone else might interpret it as.

 

What drives your work?
Growth. Recording this album especially challenged me to subject my songs to critique, to change. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and channel it into the next chapter.

 

How did young Haley know she wanted to pursue music?
5 years old, sitting on the stairs of my childhood home and torturing myself over a recent living room performance of “O Canada” and whether or not it could have been better. Nothing has changed.

 

Photography by Kyla Schnellert

 

What are your go-to road trip songs or albums?
Twin Peaks, Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon… a lot of male energy on the road.

 

How are you staying creative at home?
Writing music and rearranging my living room every day.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve received that you’ve held close to your heart?

My friends and family know how to keep me in check better than I do myself, so there are countless tidbits I keep close to heart every day. The first one that comes to mind, though, is tequila with orange, not lime.

 

Haley will be performing live from the Fox Cabaret on September 13th at 5:00pm PST. Tune into the livestream via Haley’s Facebook page. Listen to Below the Salt  and follow Haley here.

BC Creators nominated for 2020 Prism Prize Awards

The 2020 edition of the annual show celebrating the best of Canadian music videos and their creators will take place on Thursday, July 23 at 5:00 PM PST on PrismPrize.com and the @PrismPrize FacebookTwitter and YouTube channels.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Prism Prize Grand Prize screening and awards presentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prism Prize decided to keep all previously announced Top 20 artists in the running for the Grand Prize. A jury of over 120 Canadian creative arts professionals voted to determine the winner who will be awarded $20,000, increased from $15,000 thanks to a contribution from Stingray. Each of the runners-up listed in the Top 20 will receive a $500 cash prize courtesy of Slaight Music and RBCxMusic. The Audience Award will also be announced, a fan-voted prize awarded to a video from the Top 20.

Along with the Grand Prize and Audience Award winners, the Prism Prize will recognize several Special Award recipients in the upcoming virtual show including a new honour, the Willie Dunn Award. This is named after the groundbreaking Canadian singer-songwriter, film director and politician William “Willie” Dunn, whose 10-minute film for The Ballad of Crowfoot is often cited as “the first Canadian music video.” The award is presented to a Canadian trailblazer who has demonstrated excellence within the music video production community. The recipient is asked to select an emerging Canadian music video creative to receive a $5,000 cash grant. The Willie Dunn Award’s mandate is to encourage the professional development of diverse creators within the Canadian music video industry.

The recipient of the Willie Dunn Award will be announced alongside honourees for the Special Achievement Award (Presented by Slaight Music, established to recognize an exceptional contribution to music video art on the world stage), the Hi-Fidelity Award (Supported by FACTOR, established to recognize recording artists who utilize music video in innovative ways), and the Lipsett Award (Sponsored by iHeart Radio, established to celebrate a unique approach to music video art) in the lead-up to the July 23rd show.

Below is a list of the British Columbia artists who are among the Top 20.


Debby Friday, Fatal

Directors: Debby Friday & Ryan Ermacora


Said the Whale, Record Shop

Director: Johnny Jansen

 

Sam Tudor, Joseph in the Bathroom
Director: Lucas Hrubizna

 

Jordan Klassen, Virtuous Circle
Director: Farhad Ghaderi

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

An Interview With Warren Dean Flandez, Musician and Founder of Studio Cloud 30

“We need leaders who are fearless.”– Warren Dean Flandez

Warren Dean Flandez was born in Yellowknife, which he describes as ‘the coldest place on Earth.’ He then went on to live in Edmonton and Vancouver, he remembers the cold, and he also remembers the music.

“There was always music spinning in our household, and it’s been a big part of my life ever since.” When Warren was 15, he was diagnosed with asthma and someone told him to try voice lessons to help improve his lung capacity. He started taking lessons and discovered he loved singing. “My first vocal coach told me I was awful and that I should stop and try something different. It’s horrible that they can do that – break your spirit. I hit a crossroads – do I give up, like so many people do, or say screw it and follow through.”

Warren’s love of music persevered and has continued to hold a powerful place in his life. Upon moving to Vancouver without having many friends, he thinks he could have fallen into depression had it not been for music. “That summer, I joined a choir. Music saved me in a lot of ways.”

Warren started singing professionally. Despite the fact that it is not always smooth sailing in this industry, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  “I’ve been dropped, albums have been shelved, it’s been an insane ride. I’ve had so many highs and lows in my career, and I just kept dusting myself off and trying again after every fall.”

That was his inspiration when he launched Studio Cloud 30, a music school for novice and professional musicians. Within four months of launching the school, he had outgrown his space. Eight years later, he has three locations around Greater Vancouver, countless instructors and students, and a message that music is medicine. “People come to us for so many different reasons. They might have dreams of being a pop star or they might be suffering from PTSD, they might be going through a divorce or be on the autism spectrum. We know that music and songwriting can be very therapeutic.”

A few years ago, Warren became a father and thought that he might stop playing music professionally. Instead, he followed his heart and found his way back to the music that first inspired him as a musician.
“My wife inspired me to go back to my gospel roots, and so I did an independent, self-released gospel crossover album. The response was insane!”

As an artist, Warren believes that none of this would have been possible without the support of organizations like Creative BC. “Creative BC has been incredible. The music industry can change like the wind, and Creative BC gives you the flexibility you need. Dates get pushed, the climate changes, you don’t get the producer you wanted – things change. Yet, they are supportive of the journey, not of a singular outcome.”

Warren truly believes that music is for everyone. “My music falls between so many different sounds. There’s a mixed bag of influences, combined with my ethnicity or cultural ambiguity, and it’s been a blessing and a curse. For years, no one got me, but I’m excited to see the music industry coming back to appreciate music from the soul, music you can feel.”