Ten years. That’s how long TELUS STORYHIVE has been supporting B.C. and Alberta creatives tell their stories.
For the past decade, STORYHIVE has been instrumental in providing production funding, training, mentorship and distribution on Optik TV for new and emerging storytellers in underrepresented communities across the two provinces, opening avenues for their work and creative journey.
Chelsea McEvoy is one of the Okanagan creatives who have been lucky enough to be selected and funded for the STORYHIVE Editions program.
“I love how they hone in on local communities,” she says. “You don’t have to be from Vancouver or Calgary to receive funding and tell your story.”
McEvoy is a resident of Kelowna and the president of the Okanagan Society of Independent Filmmakers, which held the first ever Okanagan screen awards earlier this year. The up and coming director and cinematographer credits STORYHIVE with helping kick-start her career. The grant was what allowed McEvoy to finally explore filmmaking full time.
“[STORYHIVE] has elevated my career. I learned about budgeting a big project and gained confidence, which in turn elevated my creativity.”
McEvoy’s first STORYHIVE funded project, Wheel Love, explored her and her husband’s fertility journey. McEvoy’s husband is paralyzed and the documentary opened otherwise closed doors surrounding sexuality and disability.
McEvoy has since worked on three STORYHIVE projects, including Reinventing the Wheel, which also explored issues around physical disability. The documentary looked at the journey of Dan McLean, who was left in a wheelchair after a hunting accident resulted in a bullet hitting his spine.
The film was awarded Best Feature Documentary titles at the Toronto Independent Film Awards and the Chelsea Film Festival in New York City.
STORYHIVE is where it is today because of the immense talent, drive and creativity of content creators like McEvoy in Western Canada. The program provides production funding, training, mentorship and distribution through innovative programs on TELUS Optik TV and via online platforms.
STORYHIVE's impact during the past 10 years includes distributing more than $52 million in production funding, supporting over 1,100 screen-based projects to be produced, providing 10,000-plus hours of robust training and one-on-one mentorship. STORYHIVE has also supported over 270 communities across B.C. and Alberta.
“We are incredibly proud of the work STORYHIVE has supported over the past 10 years in communities in British Columbia’s Interior,” says Audrey Kiss, STORYHIVE’s Interior B.C. territory manager.
“Celebrating and amplifying Canadian-created content that is locally reflective and relevant is at the core of TELUS STORYHIVE’s mission. It’s been very rewarding to be able to amplify the voices of the community and champion the development of inspiring content like that created by Kelowna’s Chelsea McEvoy and Penticton’s Gwen Johnson in the Okanagan.”
Her STORYHIVE funded documentary series looks at how food can be used as medicine by specifically examining how she has used diet to treat her husband's autoimmune disorder. The piece shares recipes with Canadians across the country so they too can feel better in their bodies.
Johnson’s diet based medicine helps tackle anxiety, gut health, depression, hormonal imbalances, and more.
“STORYHIVE has been absolutely critical in helping me share my passion, medicine and ideas with the country and the world,” she said.
“Food helps us feel better in our bodies, and show up for ourselves and the people we love, every day. If I can change one life for the better, by helping them realize that something as simple as the food they consume can have such an instrumental impact on how they feel, then I’ve accomplished my mission. STORYHIVE is helping me do just that.”
Here’s to ten more years of changing lives across British Columbia and Alberta, one story at a time.
Learn about STORYHIVE’s impact at www.STORYHIVE.com/anniversary and watch the anniversary video, Dare to Dream, Dare to Create. If you're interested in discovering upcoming 2023 events, such as open houses and content creator chats, follow STORYHIVE and connect with people in the content creator community.