Marc Boothe, from the UK production company B3 Media, was here recently as faculty (with Alanis Obomsawin and Sterlin Harjo) for Hi-Rez Storytelling, an intensive program for Aboriginal filmmakers, new media writers and producers. He was also involved in creating the program. At the heart of his own work is storytelling from a culturally diverse perspective. “We support talent, tilting the playing field to create polarity of voice, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Boothe says that cultures blend more seamlessly in film and TV in the UK, mostly because the media there more clearly reflects reality. “The arts are a mirror to what’s going on, they’re about reaction.” He adds that waves of immigration there created a clear level of discrimination, but they also led to a distinct pushback within immigrant neighbourhoods, which changed the cultural face of popular media. “Writers who started in the margins are now part of the mainstream.” Inside those communities, he describes “a claustrophobia” and a creative energy that has to be released.
He sees similarities to that creative spark in Canada’s Aboriginal communities, and his time in Banff was spent helping to release that energy. “I have no doubt that some of the projects developed here will be breakthrough projects within the next year or two years.” He says that in the two weeks, one of the participating artists wrote three acts of a screenplay, developed a film treatment, and wrote a bunch of grant applications.
Working as a team, the faculty spent the two weeks guiding the development of often very personal stories, and clearing a path out into the commercial world. “As filmmakers and artists, we have to develop skills that will survive in an industry that is very commercial and competitive, and may not understand our stories.”
Cowboy Smithx is one of the filmmakers invited to participate this year in Hi-Rez Storytelling. Here, he tells Banff Centre sound designer Alyssa Moxley about bringing a centuries-old story tradition into a communications world that evolves and adapts at the speed of light: