Storyhive to launch new Digital Shorts edition promoting female directors

Storyhive, one of the leading funding programs for upcoming content creators in western Canada, is launching a Digital Shorts: Female Director Edition to promote female directors in B.C and Alberta. The winners stand a chance to win a $10,000 grant to produce their short, as well as a scholarship to the Banff Media Festival.

“The issue of a lack of female directors is well known,” said Jonas Woost, the senior strategy manager at Telus Optic Local and Storyhive. “[The project] is about providing equal opportunities and making sure that the people creating their art in western Canada … represent their community.”

According to the National Film Board of Canada, women only make up 22 per cent of writers and 12 per cent of cinematographers in the industry. The Digital Shorts edition aims to combat gender inequality within the film production industry in Canada, where only 17 per cent of the directors are women. Until September 12, teams with a director who identifies as female and is a resident of either BC or Alberta, were welcome to participate in the project and submit their content on the official Storyhive website. Such content can involve a variety of categories including biographies, comedy, documentaries, and drama among others.

Telus aims to give back to the community and nurture home grown talent in BC and Alberta. Storyhive was conceived as an initiative from Telus in 2014 to foster developing content creators in Western Canada, and has provided nearly $2 million in grants and supported over 200 projects. This new Digital Shorts edition aims to further highlight Storyhive’s mission and Woost believes it has the potential to be the most successful project yet.

“What makes the program special is that we are putting real money on the table so people can make the film. It's not just about the training and mentorship, this is creating real opportunities to create real films by female directors,” said Woost.

The program not only grants funding, but sees to it that developing filmmakers receive adequate training and exposure. To this end, they introduce filmmakers to an audience by showcasing their projects online and on Telus Optik TV on Demand.

The films of all contestants will be available for streaming on Storyhive and winners will be voted by fans. 15 winners from each province will be selected and given a $10,000 production grant. Fans will also have to vote on two major winners from each province, who will receive additional career training, mentorship and a scholarship to the Banff World Media Festival. Winners will be announced in February 2017.

Woost further mentioned that TELUS hopes to work with successful filmmakers who will graduate from Storyhive and move on to create their own movies.  

“What's more important than creating great films is to create great filmmakers and that's really the main goal of this project.”