The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC), the Canada Media Fund (CMF), Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) have teamed up for the creation of an Indigenous Screen Office in Canada.
Other partners include Bell Media, the Harold Greenberg Fund and VICE Studio Canada. The next step is to appoint someone to manage strategic objectives and operations. The 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. It will facilitate relationships with broadcasters, distributors, training institutions and federal funders.
Mélanie Joly, minister of Canadian heritage, remarked: “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.”
Valerie Creighton, CMF’s president and CEO, stated: “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 [indigenous governance consultant] 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.”
Jean La Rose, the CEO of APTN, added: “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.”