Local filmmaker Benjamin Kicknosway is one of eight participants selected for NSI IndigiDocs – a prestigious documentary filmmaking program run by the National Screen Institute (NSI).
Kicknosway will be taught by some of Canada’s top documentary professionals as he develops his film project.
Training was set to start for Kicknosway last month.
Kicknosway is a filmmaker from Walpole Island First Nation, who co-directed the animated short Wawatay in 2018, NSI officials say.
The film premiered at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2018, and has been shown at various festivals including Montreal First Peoples Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Toronto Animation Arts Festival International and Vancouver International Film Festival.
In 2019, Kicknosway was part of the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative for the Banff World Media Festival, NSI officials say.
During the last year, he has been working on film sets, in TV animation production and talking about himself in the third person.
He also enjoys spending time outdoors, gardening, fishing and hunting, or chasing around his growing number of nieces and nephews, NSI officials added.
“We are ready to kick off the 2021 edition of NSI IndigiDocs with the same great content and amazing faculty members who continue to make this program a success,” stated Kaya Wheeler, NSI program co-manager, in a media release.
“Though we are distanced, we have found a way to unite the students as a team and bring in industry professionals to help guide and inspire them along the way.”
NSI IndigiDocs is a part-time online program offering customized training for Indigenous documentary filmmakers who have an idea for a 10-minute film, NSI officials say.
The program has developed the skills of 54 Indigenous filmmakers, produced 28 short documentaries and created 359 jobs in independent productions with an overall budget of $582,943, NSI officials added.
During online boot camp training, students learn to develop their skills in writing, producing and directing from top industry experts.
At the end of phase one, all students will have a market-ready film proposal.
Students also attend the online edition of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival 2021, NSI officials say.
A jury will select up to four students to go into production and receive a cash award of up to $16,000 and approximately $10,000 of in-kind services.
Each student is paired with a mentor uniquely selected to meet their individual needs as they take their films into production.
Final post-production will be done through the National Film Board.
Completed films will be broadcast as a one-hour special on APTN.
Individual films appear on nfb.ca, nsifilms.ca and aptnlumi.ca.
Wheeler is the program co-manager along with Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, who also serves as director advisor.
Filmmaker Shane Belcourt (Amplify, Red Rover) serves as story advisor, with Tyler Hagan (Experimental Forest Films) as producer advisor.
Eagle Vision’s Lisa Meeches serves as NSI’s Indigenous training programs advisor.
NSI IndigiDocs 2020-22 is funded by Program Partners APTN, Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and RBC Emerging Artists Project; Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Boot Camp Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Strategic Sponsor documentary Channel; Supporting Sponsors Telefilm Canada, Super Channel and A&E Networks; Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Industry Partner the National Film Board of Canada; Industry Supporters imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Service Sponsors Line 21 Media and iSplice Films.
NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.