A Cawston couple will bring a traditional Indigenous story to life through the power of film this summer.
Damien Eagle Bear was chosen out of 150 submissions for Telus STORYHIVE’s first Indigenous Storyteller Edition. Bear received a $20,000 grant, alongside ongoing support and mentorship.
“It was so amazing! We were waiting (to hear) on the couch, and when we found out we just gave each other a big hug,” said Bear’s girlfriend, Madeline Terbasket, who will be writing, directing and acting for the film.
The pair chose to tell the story of “Coyote who wishes to fly like Eagle.”
“Coyote climbs up a mountain, makes his owns wings and tries to fly,” explained Terbasket. “He totally eats it, and falls down the mountain on his butt and leaves a monument there for us. There’s a big streak down a mountain here in the Similkameen that we look at to remind (us) to be ourselves.”
Terbasket said it’s a story that has been passed down for generations and one her mother told her growing up.
“I come back to this story a lot,” she said.
Terbasket and Bear used “clowning techniques” to play off the element of humour in the story.
Terbasket “is just talented, funny and awesome,” said Bear.
The couple met during their time at Capilano University in North Vancouver. Bear was in the Indigenous independent digital filmmaking program, and Terbasket was studying acting.
“We work so well together,” said Terbasket. “We don’t have a solid role, more of a fluid role in it.”
“We’re gearing up into pre-production now,” said Bear, explaining the pair had just returned from an orientation session in Vancouver.
STORYHIVE has formed an all-Indigenous advisory council as a part of the new edition, to provide advice and oversight to recipients throughout the project.
“So (now) we’re organizing and making sure the script is as best as it can be, and pulling on other creative members to help us,” said Bear.
Costumes, added Bear, will take up a large part of the budget in production design because of the detail that will go into making them. Terbasket, who is also a burlesque dancer, said the costumes will embrace that theme.
Filming will begin when the weather improves, and the team, said Terbasket, will be made up mostly of Indigenous women.
“We’re really under-represented in film and even behind the scenes, so we wanted to include them as much as possible,” said Terbasket.
“We’re also working with some of the coolest young people in Indigenous film right now,” added Bear. “They’re so talented. They’re young and emerging, and I think that’s what we need is to support one another.”
The actors will be coming from the Coast, but Terbasket said the team will be training youth in the local community and giving them the opportunity to shadow the film industry.”
The film, which can range from three to 10 minutes, will debut this fall on Telus’s Video on Demand. To watch the pitch video, visit storyhive.com/project/show/id/4474.