Starting out as a young filmmaker isn’t easy. Budget constraints mean doing everything yourself and donating every waking moment to your work. But the pay-off can be so rewarding. Community funding and grants are key for emerging Canadian creatives to bring their projects to life.
Last year TELUS launched a pilot project in Vancouver called STORYHIVE as part of its Optiik TV community programming, Optik Local. Created by TELUS to support Optik TV Local’s commitment to bolstering the community TV access program, STORYHIVE is a community-powered funding program built on the principals of crowd sourcing, without asking the “crowd” for money, but rather their votes. Based on the community’s votes, STORYHIVE will award 20 $10,000 grants to video content creators in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.
Unlike most grant programs, STORYHIVE goes beyond simply asking content creators to submit an application or pitch – the community decides which projects receive funding. It also goes beyond grants – the winners’ work will be featured on Optik TV to help give them even more exposure and ensure local content remains a staple in our communities.
I have had a long-time personal connection and commitment to enabling local storytellers and filmmakers. This might sound cheesy, but when I saw the 60+ projects competing for 10 STORYHIVE grants in Vancouver I actually felt my heart expand. These brave people are taking a chance, putting their ideas out into the World Wide Web and asking friends, family and strangers to support their projects. This is the core of STORYHIVE!
Earlier this month, 10 Vancouver-based projects were awarded $10,000 each from TELUS to make their short films/documentaries come to life. They range from documentaries on local artists and community members to dramatic and though-provoking, fictional short films. The films will premiere on TELUS Optik TV On Demand in September 2014 – I can’t wait! Thank you and congratulations to all of the STORYHIVE participants and community members who took time to vote – you are the HIVE!
You can still become part of the STORYHIVE community and vote for projects in Alberta until May 18 on STORYHIVE. Help bring Canadian community content to light!