Indigenous Storytelling

Indigenous filmmakers want to make sure Indigenous storytellers have opportunities beyond their communities.

Students from the Adam Beach Film Institute (ABFI), with help from Indigenous-led production company, are capturing stories from those who have been impacted by opioid addiction.

They were working for Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, an addictions recovery research organization, with the goal of raising awareness about the drug epidemic ravaging First Nations reserves across Canada.

Mary Doleany, education and training director, said she believes Indigenous stories should be told by Indigenous filmmakers and that’s why she’s working with ABFI.
Students Nate Magbanua and Jacob Sitarel work with Jesse Green, owner of on a story about opioid use on First Nations reserves.
Filmmaking and storytelling is important because it’s part of Indigenous oral traditions, said Jim Compton, artistic director of the ABFI.

“We’ve had a lull in our storytelling with colonialism and loss of languages and we need to get back to that tradition. So, that’s what we’ve starting at ABFI,” he said.

Roger Boyer, founder of the Indigenous Filmmakers Collective, said although Indigenous storytelling is important, sometimes Indigenous filmmakers feel pigeonholed into only telling stories about their communities.

“There’s a consensus that there shouldn’t be any stories about without us which is very important, but also there are a lot of filmmakers that don’t want to be put into a box. They do want to tell Indigenous stories, but they also want to tell stories in other genres.”

Boyer said with programming like the ABFI, and organizations like the Indigenous Filmmakers Association, are important to encourage more young Indigenous people to pursue a career in media arts.


Indigenous stories to be told by Indigenous filmmakers
Indigenous filmmakers in Winnipeg hope mentorship and growing opportunities within the film industry will allow Indigenous storytellers to pursue projects beyond their communities.
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