The Cree filmmaker aspires to be a role model

Broden Halcrow-Ducharme believes his dream could help the world — he now has a chance to see.

The 26-year-old Brandon resident is one of a handful of Canadians selected for the 2022 edition of CBC New Indigenous Voices.

Nine participants, including six Manitobans, will take part in the full-time, 14-week program, designed to provide students with basic training in the film, television and digital media industries.

“It prepares us to launch into the world and helps us find jobs,” Halcrow-Ducharme said.

Currently administered online, participants complete workshops, are offered opportunities to create original content, and complete the experience with an internship.

“The long-term goal is to prepare them for a career in the film industry,” said Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill, project manager for CBC New Indigenous Voices.

Simpson-Yellowquill was one of four people on this year’s selection committee.

The group was looking for someone who believed in themselves to advance in the film industry and use their voice to share stories, she said.

Halcrow-Ducharme embodied these principles throughout the application process.

“Right from the start, he put himself forward and showed this desire to want to be part of the program,” Simpson-Yellowquill said.

“It showed me that this program would help him take it to the next level.”

Calling himself a “multi-passionate storyteller”, Halcrow-Ducharme has a penchant for scriptwriting, cinematography and animation, and “just wants to be behind the camera, creating stories”.

“I saw it as an opportunity to reach that side of me that I missed,” said Halcrow-Ducharme, who is Cree.

Halcrow-Ducharme was born in Winnipeg, but moved often to different communities in northern Manitoba with his parents throughout his childhood before settling in Brandon at age 14.

Halcrow-Ducharme didn’t have many Indigenous storytellers to look up to as a child, he explained, adding that there wasn’t much hope or support in the communities in which he lived.

“I didn’t know my language, any tradition, any indigenous role models…it was kind of like I was settled in my own world around my people.”

Content creators like The Slow Mo Guys on YouTube poked Halcrow-Ducharme’s already creative mind to recreate the feeling these videos evoked of him for other people.

“I just want to do the same – make people happy,” he said.

“Maybe it will change their lives later.”

Prior to applying to CBC New Indigenous Voices, Halcrow-Ducharme attended Assiniboine Community College, where he graduated with a major in media in 2021.

Although he enjoyed his studies, he felt he was missing something.

“The only thing missing was the Indigenous side of things.”

After a week in the new program, Halcrow-Ducharme is already noticing a difference.

Two program advisors, an elder knowledge keeper and 75% of the instructors are Aboriginal.

“The end goal is to have 100 percent of our instructors be Indigenous or BIPOC professionals,” Simpson-Yellowquill said.

Halcrow-Ducharme not only strives to make a difference in people’s lives, but also to be an Indigenous role model for the next generation of budding filmmakers.

“It’s been an amazing journey I’ve been on so far.”

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Rebecca R. Santistevan