5 Takeaways from the 'Reshaping Representations' filmmaker talk

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Filmmaker Talk Reshaping Representations
From top left, clockwise: Dr. Jules Koostachin, Jade Tootoosis, Dr. Tasha Hubbard and Dan Levy.

On October 12, we were proud to help produce the TELUS originals online filmmaker talk, “Reshaping Representations of Indigenous Peoples in Media.” 

The discussion featured award-winning Cree filmmakers Dr. Jules Koostachin (Chubby Cree, Broken Angel, WaaPaKe),  Dr. Tasha Hubbard (nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, Singing Back the Buffalo) and Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek). The talk was moderated by Jade Tootoosis.

Co-produced by the Faculty of Native Studies (University of Alberta), the hour-long chat provided insights on the importance of representation of Indigenous People both behind and in front of the camera.

If you missed it, you can now stream the entire chat on watch.telusoriginals.com. Watch for it coming soon on TELUS Optik TV Channel 8

Here are some key takeaways from the empowering conversation.

Representation is key to breaking down stereotypes

“We’re at a time where we’re able to take up space, have our stories come forward, and have strong and amazing work out there that tells our true stories.” - Tasha Hubbard

“How do you find yourself accurately represented on screen in a way that isn’t reduced or characterized? That’s reflective of the diversity of your experiences within that conversation. It’s a complicated conversation. But I think it really starts with making sure that people in high positions of power reflect the storytelling that is wanting to be made.” - Dan Levy

“When our stories come forward, we transcend stereotypes.” - Tasha Hubbard

Hiring Indigenous creators makes a difference

“It is so important to see ourselves reflected on the screen. We need to be in those key creative roles. We are the authority in our lives, in our lived experience. Who else better to tell our stories than us? Positionality is key.” - Jules Koostachin

“The possibilities are clear now. We’re seeing more Indigenous creators coming forward. It’s an option. There’s been a lot of work to get us to this point, there’s still more to do, but the possibilities are super exciting.”  Tasha Hubbard

“We all come with our unique cultural ways of telling our story. But they’re all needed, and we all have something to say with them. It comes back down to the attitudes of people in decision-making roles. You hire one, but where’s their team? Where are their colleagues? Why put it on one person's shoulders? It’s just one, now keep going.” - Tasha Hubbard

Support and risk-taking are critical

“Mistakes are part of the creative process.” - Tasha Hubbard

“The industry is tough, it's hard on your ego, it’s really nice when you have supportive friends and people holding you up.” - Jules Koostachin

 Continuous Learning and Positionality

“Continuing to educate yourself on the experiences of other people is the key to changing the concept of someone feeling entitled to tell a story that they’re not entitled to tell. Those are the kind of systemic shifts that need to be made to make space for stories outside of the settler experience.” - Dan Levy

“Protocol is a huge part of my upbringing in terms of how we share our collective stories. I believe we have sacred stories too that aren’t meant to be shared. I think positionality also matters. You need to state your relationship to the story you’re telling. For Indigenous folks the stakes are high…we have to be responsible to our community and family. There’s lots at stake.” - Jules Koostachin

Collaboration over consultation 

“Be willing to do the work…Listening is a verb, you have to be present.” - Jules Koostachin

“[Have] the wherewithal to bring someone on not only as a consultant, but as a producer, in a meaningful way.” - Dan Levy

Creator Talks
Posted onOct 23, 2023
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