Five grant-winning documentaries you don’t want to miss

Diversity in Hollywood — or the lack thereof — has been a hot topic of discussion and an ongoing source of strife for people of colour for quite some time now. 

Both the big and small screens have a long and bitter history of miscasting roles that call for minority casting, and behind-the-scenes haven’t been much better.

STORYHIVE has sought to rectify this by awarding $50,000 in funding to B.C. and Alberta documentary makers who will use the opportunity to tell Asian-Canadian stories. These documentaries will not only put the spotlight on the extraordinary experiences, history, and cultures of Asian Canadians, but will also seek to put Asians at the heart of their own narratives.

Funded films include:

Take Me to the River | Julie Kim

This Vancouver-based film tells the story of two Vancouver millennials who discover a plastic-eating bacteria in the Fraser River while working on a science project. Kim’s story packs a powerful message about the current state of plastic pollution and the unexpected solution that could help clean up our oceans for good.

Kalinga (Care) | Kent Donguines

This film focuses on the story of Maria Facundo-Lilly, a Filipino Canadian attempting to provide work opportunities in the country for Filipinos, with jobs such as caregivers or nannies. A story that will resonate with many, the film illustrates the myriad of struggles that new immigrants face acclimatizing to a new country while simultaneously acting as caregivers.

Photo credit: Kalinga (Care) screenshot

The Nikkei Way | Kynan Gordon

Gordon documents the journey of a special group of Japanese Canadians in Lethbridge. While it may not be widely known, Lethbridge houses the only Japanese-Canadian community that has a timeline not hindered by the internment camp years. The documentary displays the unique heritage and cultures of Japanese Canadians who were given the choice to work the beet fields of Alberta instead of being interned, and demonstrates the important role that the Nikkei play in the current Lethbridge community.  

Punjabi Pioneers of Alberta | Robin Yusaf

A powerful story of the first Indian trailblazers to immigrate to Alberta, this film depicts the challenges, sacrifices and new beginnings that new immigrants are faced with. The film also explores the lifelong friendships borne from adversity, as well as how those relationships have been passed down to new generations of Canadian Indians.  

Higher Perspective | Dave Mai

Perspective is everything in this unique film about climbing photographers and their subjects. Mai shares the mental and physical challenges that these professionals face in pursuit of their craft and carefully sheds light on what makes it all worth it.

Photo credit: Higher Perspective screenshot

These five phenomenal stories (along with 25 others of varying categories) were selected out of 382 applications to receive $50,000 from TELUS STORYHIVE’s Documentary Edition.

This funding represents an incredible opportunity for these filmmakers to execute their vision and amplify their stories and voices to reach new audiences. Keep a careful eye out for these talented creators and support their films, which will be featured on TELUS Optik TV™ On Demand through the Community Showcase program.

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People chatting at the Making It documentary screening.

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