Tremplin NIKANIK program to assist First Nations francophone filmmakers
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a federal cultural agency within the portfolio of the Department of Canadian Heritage. Its mandate is to reflect Canadian values and perspectives through the production and distribution of innovative Canadian audiovisual works accessible in the relevant media of today. The Tremplin program was originally designed to help emerging filmmakers in francophone minority communities create a first or second professional documentary. The selected participants would benefit from professional guidance at each step of the production and would have access to the NFB’s expertise. The films produced were broadcast on Ici Radio-Canada Télé.
In 2012-13, the National Film Board expanded its Tremplin program to offer a pilot initiative specifically designed for First Nations francophone filmmakers in Quebec. Called Tremplin NIKANIK, this joint venture with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) aimed to give aspiring filmmakers the chance to make a short first or second documentary film, gain valuable hands-on screenwriting and production experience while working with respected industry professionals. The program was intended to increase opportunities for First Nations francophone filmmakers by providing them with an educational experience during which they could make key connections with members of the industry. As well, the documentary film created through participation in the Tremplin NIKANIK program would be broadcast across Canada by the APTN, which would expose the film to a wider audience and increase recognition for the filmmaker.
Tremplin NIKANIK was a contest for aspiring First Nations francophone filmmakers. It was composed of two stages: the first was the development stage, where candidates’ submissions were evaluated by a jury. The chosen candidates received a screenwriting contract from the Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinema (SARTEC) and spent two to four days in writing workshops. Candidates were then supported by a consultant for a period of seven to nine weeks while they developed their script. Following this, a finalist was chosen and proceeded to the production stage; their documentary was produced and distributed by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), and was broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).
For more information (in French only), please see: http://blogue.onf.ca/tremplin-nikanik/
The Tremplin NIKANIK competition was expected to add to the many works produced by the National Film Board with Aboriginal filmmakers and creators from all regions of the country, and strengthen the contribution being made by Aboriginal communities in the film sector by stimulating audiovisual creation and production.
After the first competition, the winning short documentary film “Le chemin rouge” was produced by the up-and-coming director, Thérèse Ottawa. The film was launched in 2015 at the Montréal First Peoples’ Festival. It was then presented at numerous festivals across Canada and the United States.
For more information, please see: https://www.nfb.ca/film/red_path/
The financial resources allocated to the competition were $70 500 CAD, and the production of the short documentary film cost $87 000 CAD.
The NIKANIK competition was the subject of an internal evaluation. Although the first short documentary film produced through this program was presented at the main Aboriginal festivals (the Montréal First Peoples’ Festival and ImagiNATIVE in Toronto) and was broadcast by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), the initiative as a whole did not spark the recipient’s career, and the National Film Board’s objectives were not met.
The influence and range of the competition did not appear to be sufficient enough to renew it the following year. A new activity, bringing together seven Aboriginal artists from different nations, is in development and will be produced in November of 2017. The objective is to create a structuring initiative with more influence, and a range that goes beyond networks and events which are primarily linked to Aboriginal communities.