Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I see that the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival is about to start. It's too late to submit Hoopla for this year, but I'm hoping we might be able to do so for next year. I've been a bit stalled out on Hoopla, as I've been busy trying to finish-up the Lawrence Project. I've agreed to spend January and February in Ontario doing just that. Hopefully we'll be able to make progress on an all-Haida version of the movie in April, when I'm back in Masset. And, I'm hoping we can make another Haidawood movie in the summer.

I got a chance to talk with Gwaai on the phone today. He was contacted by someone from APTN about the YouTube video Haida Raid. Apparently they might be interested in doing something on the show First Talk.

Friday, October 19, 2007

BC to continue with Film Credits

This from the Province of BC website...


NORTH VANCOUVER – The Province intends to extend British Columbia’s successful film tax credits for an additional five years to 2013, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today at a celebration to proclaim Motion Picture Industry Week in B.C.

“The motion picture industry has become a significant part of British Columbia’s economic, artistic and cultural identity, directly employing 20,000 British Columbians and generating $1.2 billion in production expenditures last year,” said Premier Campbell. “Our film tax credits ensure B.C. remains competitive in maintaining the tremendous activity we have seen in this sector. In the upcoming budget, we’ll ask the legislature to extend those credits for an additional five years to help ensure B.C. remains top of mind with producers.”

The tax credits were set to expire in 2008 and the decision to seek an extension to 2013 was made following the Ministry of Finance’s 2007 Film Tax Credit Review. The review involved consultations with domestic and foreign film producers and British Columbia Film.

“An extension was widely supported by industry representatives, who reported the program increased employment and stimulated growth of the industry in British Columbia,” said Finance Minister Carole Taylor. “By announcing our intentions now, we send a clear message that we want British Columbia to remain a location of choice for film and television production.”

B.C. is now home to Canada’s largest and North America’s third-largest film and television service production centre. B.C.’s film and television industry has grown from $211 million and 61 productions in 1992 to $1.2 billion and 230 productions in 2006. The productions completed last year include 53 feature films, 39 television series, 63 movies of the week, 33 documentaries, 18 animation projects, 13 television pilots and 11 short films. The industry generates an estimated 20,000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs across the province.

If the extension is approved by the Legislative Assembly, British Columbia production companies will continue to benefit from the Film Incentive BC tax credit, which includes:
· A basic credit of 30 per cent of qualified labour costs.
· A regional credit of 12.5 per cent for productions filmed outside the designated Vancouver area.
· A film training tax credit for approved training programs.
· A digital animation or visual effects credit of 15 per cent.

Canadian and international production companies could continue to qualify for the Production Services Tax Credit, which has three components:

· A basic credit of 18 per cent of qualified labour costs.
· A regional credit of six per cent for productions filmed outside the designated Vancouver area.
· A digital animation or visual effects credit of 15 per cent.

This just in...

From the Province of BC's Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation website...


VICTORIA – The Province has provided $250,000 in funding to support the electronic preservation of B.C. First Nations languages, announced Olga Ilich, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services.

“The FirstVoices project is vital to ensure that First Nations languages continue to thrive in British Columbia,” said Ilich. “Through digital technology, children will have the opportunity to learn the language of their elders for many generations to come.”

The project provides necessary support to digitally archive First Nations languages, some of which are currently known only among a few First Nations elders. Interactive teaching tools will then be accessed online by First Nations or other persons interested in learning the traditional languages.

“This funding will help us keep our online technology ahead of the growing demand for the archiving and accessing of First Nations languages,” said Tyrone McNeil, chair of the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council. “This technology is a very important tool as we support First Nations in documenting and revitalizing their Aboriginal languages.”

FirstVoices will target 18 First Nations communities and provide community-based B.C. First Nations language teams with support, nearly doubling the number of communities benefiting from language renewal.

“This ministry funding is a good example of the partnering that can result from the strategic investments of the New Relationship Trust,” said Cliff Fregin, chief executive officer of the New Relationship Trust. “In this way, we can continue to help enhance the technology of FirstVoices in service to First Nations throughout the province.”

Network BC, a division of Labour and Citizens’ Services dedicated to bridging the digital divide in British Columbia, provided the funding in support of FirstVoices. It was matched by a grant from the New Relationship Trust, which has also designated an additional $250,000 in funding for 2009 and 2010. The New Relationship Trust supports capacity-building for First Nations to effectively participate in land and resource management and social programs for their communities.

Network BC will continue to work with First Nations, federal and community partners to further develop connectivity in First Nations communities and bridge the digital divide.

The Province of British Columbia is building a new relationship with First Nations, founded on the principles of mutual respect, reconciliation and recognition of Aboriginal rights.

Connect the dots

I just came across information for the imagineNative film festival in Toronto, that runs from Oct. 17-21. Maybe there'd be a way to screen Hoopla as one of the shorts there next year? Of course, Hoopla is pretty roughly shot. I like to think of it as accessible art - the kind of art you can do yourself, and yet, it is also pleasing to the eye. I'm hoping to set-up a meeting with the NFB to get their advice on how to move the project forward.

IMG_6320.JPGThe other day, I met with Laurel Wilson Smith, who is the director of the 'Ksan village up here in Hazelton. They have a beautiful facility, as you can see from these photos. The village depends on revenue from their well-stocked gift shop, and they have experienced a short-fall in the past two years due to the sinking of the Queen of the North, as well as landslides that temporarily closed Hwy 16, both of which impacted tourist visits, and consequently gift shop revenue. I'd be interested in working with them on some grants to help make the village more sustainable, and also help realize the full-potential of this marvelous facility, tucked away in the mountains of the North.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What now?

I've been exploring different related websites, including Cradleboard, an educational website developed in part with the help of singer/songwriter and educator, Buffy Sainte-Marie. I've also been taking a look at Reel Youth. They are touring a selection of films made by youth under 19 years, and they also conduct short animation workshops with youth. I'd like to adapt lessons from these different example websites, in order to make the Haidawood project sustainable.

At the moment, I'm sitting on a draft version of the Hoopla movie, that we showed in August, just before I left Masset. An obvious next-step would be to release the movie on YouTube. However, I'd also like to make sure we produce a Haida-language version of the movie. And, there is also the idea of recording a rap soundtrack to the movie with Jaalen and Gwaai's cousin Derek. I've got a little time now to move the project forward, so we'll have to see what happens.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Haidawood Wrapup

full cast shot for final sceneSharmeen and I leave the islands tomorrow, and so we are busy wrapping things up here in Masset. Ernie, Jonathan, Heather, and I ended up working until 5 am, in order to get the movie done in time. You can see some pictures here. Ander was also a big help, coming and helping us animate for most of the day on Wednesday.

On Thursday Heather and I met with Jusquan, and Naani Mary, and Tsiini Stephen. We showed them the movie, and recorded some Haida phrases, which I later incorporated into the script.

sharmeen poursWe had a big premiere for the movie Hoopla! on Thursday night here at the Chateau Hamersley. A lot of people came, I'm guessing maybe 30 people or so. We had a terrific potluck, with a ton of excellent food. People take their potlucks very seriously here on the islands. We showed the movie, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. You can see some pictures from the premiere here.

Friday I dropped by the Teen Center. Sarah had already showed the movie to the kids a couple of times. I showed the movie to a few of the kids, and talked about how I wanted to get a rap soundtrack for the movie. I guess we'll see what happens. I'd like to improve the sound track that we have now, but realistically, I've got other projects to work on, and I feel that I should post the movie on YouTube some time soon.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday's work...

raven puppetErnie finished the Raven's head today, and we managed to assemble the puppet. We've also made progress shooting, although we still have a lot to do for tomorrow! Tomorrow we're doing a potluck at 8 pm, and we're going to show the film... And, I'm scheduled to meet with the elders tomorrow afternoon to show them the visuals, and work with them to record the soundtrack... So, a lot to do. You can see some pics of today's progress here. I'm about to head back to the Teen Center, to shoot more footage, and see if we've got any teens who want to help out.

Workin' like Mad

Well, we're into the final stretch, and we still have a lot to go, if we're to finish the movie for tomorrow night! Sharmeen and I are planning to host a potluck at Shannon's place on Thursday (tomorrow!) night. The plan is to show the short (5 minute?) movie, and nosh on some yummy food. Also, we're scheduled to meet with the elders tomorrow, to have them provide the sound for the movie.

We've added a giant to the script, and we're waiting for Ernie to deliver the Raven head. The Raven plays a key role in the film. Here's to gettin-r-done on time!

You can see pics from last night's shoot here.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Thursday Crowd Scene

checking out the vidOn Thursday, Heather, Ander, and I shot the crowd scene for the Hoopla movie. It took us a while to get in our groove, but once we did, it was meditative and relaxing: all I had to do was move little bits of paper around. How hard can that be? I was pretty happy with the results, esp. when the crowd stands up and cheers.

Meanwhile, Ernie is working on the Raven puppet. He's going to be important for the overall plot. And Jusquan has arranged for us to meet with the edlers on Thursday, to provide the voiceover for the movie in both English and Haida. How'wa.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Haida Teen Night

Tonight we made a video, which I've called "Haida Teen Night." Basically, Heather, Roy, Sharmeen and I went to the Masset Teen Center for their Wednesday night dinner. When we got there, the teens were watching the movie 300. We watched the movie, and then a few of the teens, including Ben and others, helped us shoot some test video, which we then compiled together into this short. Enjoy!


storyboard pitchWe've got a name for our movie: it's called "Hoopla" and it's about a basketball game. Basketball is big on the islands, and a lot of kids play. We've got a whole story line mapped out - I think it'll be fun. This is a picture of me explaining the storyboard...

We also had a visit today from Owen - he's a photographer who specializes in images from the West, and First Nations peoples in particular. He was very respectful and knowledgeable, and it was nice to have him visit.

Tonight we're going to hang out at the Teen Center, for their usual Wednesday night Teen Night. Hopefully we'll get some new participants!

You can see pics from today here.

Day Two

building bball courtbball

Yesterday, Heather, Ander, Ernie, and I worked on making a basket ball court, as well as two new puppets, and making a crowd for the audience shots. We were supposed to meet with the elders, but that meeting got nixed, and now it looks like we'll be meeting with elders one-on-one, which might be more effective.

Basket Ball is big on the island, and so it seemed like a fun place to start, to develop a story line that would interest young kids... The plan is to actually start animating today, and to come to the Teen Night tonight, and show the kids what's up, and see if we can recruit some new participants.

You can see some pics from yesterday here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007



I met with Masset TV today, and they are going to post an ad on their bulletin board. Also, I've made a poster, which you can see here. Hopefully this will help get some kids to come and participate.

First Day of Haidawood

Well, Monday was our first day on the Haidawood project. We're hoping to build on the original proof-of-concept movie I did back in April, called "Haida Raid" (see above). You can see some pics from our first day here.