NFB, APTN partner to strengthen role of Indigenous creators

An MOU signed by the organizations pledges to develop best practices for the production and distribution of Indigenous-led content and share data to better serve audiences.

The National Film Board (NFB) and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging to combine their efforts to strengthen relations with Indigenous Peoples and creators.

In a wide-ranging agreement, signed today at APTN’s Winnipeg headquarters, the organizations said they would collaborate to share data and research, with a view to better serving audiences; develop and implement strategies for hiring, integrating and retaining Indigenous employees; and jointly develop best practices for the production and distribution of doc, animation and interactive projects from Indigenous creators.

“APTN is proud to partner with the NFB by being part of a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the contribution and recognition of Indigenous Peoples and cultures to the Canadian film and television industry, in alignment with Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations,” said Jean La Rose, CEO, APTN, in a statement.

The MOU will also see the organizations partnering to implement cultural competency training for the NFB’s workforce regarding Indigenous issues; find ways to develop new productions that utilize the NFB’s archival doc materials to contextualize content from an Indigenous perspective; and develop protocols to make archival material from the NFB’s Indigenous collection more accessible to media artists.

The agreement comes after the NFB released a long-term action plan last June aimed at increasing the level of funding given to projects led by Indigenous creators, as well as achieving representational parity across its workforce. In a release announcing the partnership, the organizations said that by working together they can ensure that programs, training and other initiatives aimed at strengthening relations are more rapidly implemented.

“This MOU reflects our shared desire to build on what has already been achieved, and ensures that the voices of Indigenous Peoples and creators can be heard in communities across the country. In doing so, we hope to help build a lasting legacy to hand down to current and future generations,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, government film commissioner and chairperson of the NFB.

Last month, Jesse Wente was named director of the Indigenous Screen Office, an organization that was supported by APTN and the NFB, alongside CBC/Radio-Canada, CMF, Telefilm and the CMPA. The office aims to implement a long-term strategy to support Indigenous talent, short- and feature-script development, television and digital media and training, as well as facilitating relationships with broadcasters, distributors, training institutions and federal funders.

Jean La Rose, pictured left, Claude Joli-Coeur, right