June 14, 2017
From the Telefilm Canada media release
Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced at the Banff World Media Festival a partnership between the APTN, the CBC, the CMF and Telefilm Canada, the CMPA, the NFB and associated partners Bell Media, the Harold Greenberg Fund and VICE Studio Canada, to create an Indigenous Screen Office.
“The creation of this Office was the primary outcome of a multi-stakeholder engagement process announced last January, led by Marcia Nickerson, Indigenous Governance Consultant, the objective of which is to develop recommendations to better support the Indigenous screen-based sector in Canada. Resulting from this process, the participating organisations launched an initiative to create an Indigenous Screen Office tasked with supporting the development, production and marketing of Indigenous content, thus contributing to a vibrant Canadian Indigenous screen-based industry.
First steps will go towards hiring a qualified individual to oversee strategic objectives and operations. This Office will then implement a long-term strategy supporting all levels of talent development, including short and feature script development; television and digital media and training. A key role of the office will be to facilitate relationships with broadcasters, distributors, training institutions and federal funders.
All partners and key industry stakeholders acknowledge there are a number of systemic barriers in getting Indigenous stories made and seen. This is exacerbated by inadequate funding, difficulty in accessing distribution, barriers to production such as funding, geography and a lack of Indigenous representation, among other factors that will be addressed by the Indigenous Screen Office.
“Too often, Indigenous creators have faced systematic barriers in the industry that have made it difficult to share their stories. The creation of the Indigenous Screen Office will help address these barriers, provide direct support to creators and showcase Indigenous content in Canada and on the world stage.” – The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“The CMF has the largest program in support of Indigenous content in the country. While we led this initiative to consider future directions for our own program, it was the leadership of Marcia Nickerson, the discussion with Indigenous creators, producers and stakeholders from coast to coast to coast combined with the extraordinary collaboration of the partners that resulted in our collective ability to launch this initiative in order to address the issues faced by the Indigenous creative community in Canada’s screen-based sector. This work builds upon the At the Crossroads report authored by Jeff Bear which was commissioned by the federal government and various agencies in 2004. Very little has changed since the recommendations of that report, 13 years ago.” – Valerie Creighton, President and Chief Executive Officer, CMF
“In developing the long-term strategy for the Indigenous Screen Office, it will be key to ensure that Indigenous Canadians, as custodians of Indigenous narratives, are in charge of telling stories about Indigenous Peoples and have a unique perspective when telling those stories; to promote and respect Indigenous cultural protocols; to guarantee that leading institutions in the audiovisual industry are responsive to Indigenous Peoples’ needs and priorities; to respect the integrity and intention of Indigenous artists and ensure they have opportunities to flourish as other Canadians do; and to support their artistic visions and perspectives from across the country. These principles are the cornerstone upon which our new relationship will be based.” – Jean La Rose, Chief Executive Officer, APTN”