DOC Reaches out to Indigenous Filmmakers
(May 14, 2019 – Toronto, ON) In alignment with the values and mission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) has announced it will be offering free membership to any and all Canadian Indigenous individuals – valid until Dec 31st, 2020.
The TRC identified that “participation in the arts is a guarantor of other human rights because the first thing that is taken away (…) is the right to self-expression… The arts help to restore human dignity and identity in the face of injustice. Properly structured, they can also invite people to explore their own world-views, values, beliefs, and attitudes that may be barriers to healing, justice, and reconciliation.”
“Through this initiative, our goal is to remove any barriers to access that may previously have limited inclusion and accessibility to the value of participating in our organization,” said Mathieu Pierre Dagonas, Executive Director, DOC. “We champion the production and distribution of documentaries across all platforms – and advocate on behalf of creators and producers – to strengthen the Canadian documentary community. Our goal is to ensure that all creators are given equal opportunity to succeed in sharing their work and stories.”
This initiative comes at a time when one particular Indigenous documentary is achieving critical success at Canada’s most important documentary film festivals. Tasha Hubbard’s eye-opening exploration of racism in the Canadian justice system, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, was named Best Canadian documentary at Hot Docs and was honoured with The Colin Low Award for Canadian Documentary at Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival.
“We thank DOC for their leadership as a professional association, in removing barriers to access for Indigenous filmmakers” said Jesse Wente, Director of the Indigenous Screen Office.
The DOC website states this about their history of advocacy: “From the beginning, advocacy has been at the heart of the Documentary Organization of Canada. The organization was founded as the Canadian Independent Film & Video Caucus (CIFC) in 1983, at a time when major documentary funders like the Canadian Broadcast Program Development Fund (the predecessor of Telefilm Canada) excluded documentaries from their mandates. It was clear that real political advocacy was required to address the issue and to improve conditions for independent documentary filmmakers in Canada.
The organization’s first regional chapter was founded in Toronto in 1988, and the national office was formed in 1991. The Hot Docs Film Festival, founded by DOC, debuted in 1994 and is now the largest documentary-focused film festival in North America. Since the mid-1990s, the organization has grown rapidly, and was officially renamed the Documentary Organization of Canada in 2003.
There is more about membership online at the DOC website.