Experimental Forest Films Announces Recipients of New Works Grant; A Project-Based Initiative to Support Underrepresented Filmmakers in BC

Experimental Forest Films, with the generous support of TELUS Storyhive, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2nd-ever New Works Grant. The initiative is awarding 4 filmmakers with $2000 grants to Black filmmakers living on the unceded lands known as British Columbia. 

The four selected filmmakers are Adhel Arop, Kemi Craig, Mariam Ingrid Barry and Sophia Turunesh Mufuruki.

“Experimental Forest Films is thrilled to be able to continue the New Works Grant for a second year,” says Tyler Hagan, co-founder and producer. “The calibre of talent in our community is really inspiring, and being able to support artists, even in a relatively small way, is such a privilege. We are extremely excited for this year’s projects, as well as those of all the applicants, and look forward to seeing them come to life.”

Adhel Arop’s documentary KATIBA BANAT: THE FIRST GIRLS, explores the lives of female child soldiers who were recruited into the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, including her own mother, during the Second Sudanese Civil War in the 1980s. Kemi Craig’s Afro-surrealist dance film ONE OF AN INFINITE is an exploration of moments of choice expressed by a dancer through visual metaphors of a door, utilizing Super 8 film loops, video projection mapping and movement. Mariam Ingrid Barry’s short TIANA tells the story of a young Black girl who discovers magic on her journey for reproductive justice. And musician and artist Sophia Turunesh Mufuruki’s short film COCO MARIJUANA decolonizes spirituality on the African continent and revolutionizes ancient traditional belief systems, exploring themes of herbalism, spiritualism and ‘motherism’.

Submissions to the program included projects ranging from short to feature films, scripted to doc, and experimental to animation. The grants are intended as sustenance funds to support filmmakers with the valuable time they need to create, but can be used as the artists see fit. 

The jury, composed of award-winning filmmakers Alicia K. Harris and New Works Grant alumni Nifemi Madarikan and Sideah Alladice, noted the strength and breadth of applications submitted, and the challenge of supporting only a select few. Of the projects selected, they were inspired by the incredible range of voice, subject and approach to the craft, and are eager to see these projects come to life. 

About Experimental Forest Films
Experimental Forest Films is an award-winning production company based on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territory in Vancouver, B.C.

Founded by Writer/Director Kathleen Hepburn and Producer/Director Tyler Hagan, Experimental Forest Films is committed to socially relevant, nuanced storytelling that celebrates creative risk and cinematic vision. Their films have premiered at TIFF & Berlinale and their most recent project, THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN won the prestigious Toronto Film Critics Association Best Canadian Film Award (2020) and was picked up for distribution by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY Releasing. EFF current projects range in form from documentary to narrative features and, more recently, dramatic television series.

Driven to continue building and uplifting our local community of filmmakers, in 2020 EFF launched Forest for the Trees – an initiative focused on developing programs and grants that connect and support our creative community. 

About Telus Storyhive
Since 2013, STORYHIVE has awarded over $11 million to emerging filmmakers, creators and storytellers across B.C. and Alberta. The team is passionate about local storytelling — and giving individuals across Western Canada the opportunity to share their voices. For more information, visit https://www.storyhive.com