Naturally Ours Season 1 Film Festival Selections and Awards

Salt Spring Island

Erica mid interview with Cowichan Knowledge Keeper Hwiemtun on the set of Naturally Ours.

We have recently embarked on a new exciting adventure into the realm of digital film production. Many of you have followed along with us as we created and shared our first completed web series, Naturally Ours! For our first season of Naturally Ours, we chose Salt Spring Island, British Columbia to highlight the  Canadian Parks and the people they inspired. We worked together with Kelly Conlin of Nice Lady Productions to bring you gorgeous 4K footage with the goal of spreading beauty, love, peace, inspiration and hope around the world. You can watch the season in its entirety here on Stareable or the broadcast half-hour documentary version of Naturally Ours: Salt Spring Island on Fearless.

 

 

After the online success of our Season 1 release of Naturally Ours, we decided to test the waters at numerous digital film festivals. Our goal with this series is to continue on, featuring the beautiful parks and natural spaces we have all around the world and the people (and yes, other non-human creatures too) that live and work amongst them. Expanding our reach to film festivals has shown that storytelling which showcases the good and beauty that exists in our world is very well received! Here are the film festival selections and awards for Season 1 of Naturally Ours to date.

Woodengate International Film Festival

Woodengate film festival

Maramures County Romania (Photo courtesy of: Camilia TWU)

The Woodengate International Film Festival is based in Maramures County, Romania. Century old traditions are still a part of daily life here. In celebration of emerging talent in online storytelling in film, they feature live screenings of official selections chosen from submissions they receive from around the world. We are beyond excited to say that we were selected for their Documentary category and won the Best Documentary award!

Vancouver Web Fest

Vancouver Web Fest

Downtown Vancouver (photo courtesy of: Spencer Watson)

The Vancouver Web Fest is local to us. We were excited to bring the beauty of a park so close to all the residents here to the big screen! This festival is part conference, part festival and part showcase. Attendees enjoy workshops, keynote speakers, screenings and more. Being a web fest, they honour creators in digital storytelling. We are pleased to share that we were officially selected as nominees for Best Documentary Web Series, Best Pilot, Best Cinematography, and Best of BC! Best of all though was the reaction of fellow Vancouver Web Fest nominee, Lungelo Mdlalose. After seeing the screening of Episode 1 of Season 1 of Naturally Ours at the festival, Lungelo decided to spend his one free day in British Columbia, making the trip through the Salish Sea to experience the parks and people of Salt Spring Island first hand.  That Lungelo was inspired to take this action is high praise indeed from the gentleman that won Best International Series at Vancouver Web Fest for his series, Thesha. Congratulations Lungelo!

die Seriale Germany

die Seriale Germany

A View of Giessen (photo courtesy of: atxcowboy)

die Seriale takes place in Giessen Germany, and is the oldest festival in all of Germany to celebrate both emerging and accomplished independent artists of digital and web series production. Lectures, workshops and panel discussions are included. It only became an international festival in 2017, so we are quite honoured to have been selected by them as official nominees for Best Series and Best Documentary. This festival takes place soon, from June 8th through the 10th. Episode 4 of Season 1 of Naturally Ours will have it’s World Premiere on the big screen at the festival!

Sicily Web Fest

Sicily Web Fest

Gibellina, Sicily (Photo courtesy of: Luca Savetierre)

The Sicily Web Fest is part of the prestigious Scirocco Wine Fest in Gibellina, Sicily. The web fest prides itself on being a real cultural event with the goal of promoting cinematographic art through the web. It is a major international event. The aim of the wine fest is also to build bridges between cultures, making this a perfect environment to bring Naturally Ours into. It will be screening there between June 29th-30th as official selections in both the Web Series and Pilot categories!

 

Canadian Diversity Film Festival

Canadian Diversity Film Festival

Downtown Toronto (Photo courtesy of LinedPhoto )

It means a tremendous amount to us to be recognized for the Canadian Diversity Film Festival, as its platform is based on diversity being Canada’s lifeblood. It is for global filmmakers living in Canada with the goal of bringing diverse communities together through story and shared experiences. For us, that means being able to highlight Canada’s first nations, and the islanders of Salt Spring Island who fought to save the land and artistic healing lifestyle. The festival will be taking place at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, Ont. June 29th-30th. The full version of Naturally Ours is an official selection in the Documentary category!

 

Stareable Fest

Stareable Film Fest

Lady Liberty and New York City (photo courtesy of Bicad Media)

Naturally ours will be making its American film festival debut this summer at Stareable Fest in Tribeca, New York City! Stareable itself is an innovative site for web creators to showcase their passion projects. In keeping with their spirit of supporting independent filmmakers, they are hosting a two day celebration that is a mix of judging nominated films, industry marketplace and creator convention.  We are pleased to say that Naturally Ours is an official selection for Best Documentary! The festival will be taking place July 20th-22nd.

 

Rolda Web Fest

Rolda Web Fest

Roldanillo, Columbia (Photo by: Claudio Vosti )

The Rolda Web Fest takes place in Roldanillo, Columbia and is one of only three in all of South America. This will be its second annual edition. This year they received over 1000 submissions from over 87 countries and have a celebrity jury. We are beyond excited to be finalists for best Documentary Web Series or Short Film! Rolda Web Fest takes place July 28-29th.

Copenhagen Web Fest

Copenhagen Web Fest

The Nyhavn (New Harbor in Copenhagen) Photo by: Nick Karvounis

The Copenhagen Web Fest will be full of activity! There will be live screenings, workshops, innovative projects, master classes and a pitch fest with international film makers. Taking place September 21st-23rd, it is Scandinavia’s first web film festival. Naturally Ours is an official nominee for Best Documentary! We love seeing that they have a Young Visionary category for talented youth.

 

Travel Film Fest

Travel Web Fest

Limassol, Cyprus (Photo by: Andreas Komodromos)

The Travel Film Fest is purely for films pertaining to travel, both modern and historical, scripted and documentary. They welcome enthusiasts and professionals alike. They value various modes of travel and also love films that highlight culture, lifestyle and the world around us. They are firm believers that the story within a film is far more important than the budget or acclaim of the creators. Naturally ours has been chosen as an official selection in the Travel Web Series category. The festival takes place in Limassol, Cyprus October 19th-21st.

 

Bilbao Seriesland Festival

Bilboa Seriesland

The Guggenheim Museum (photo by: Joe Lin)

The Bilboa Seriesland Festival is the first Basque Digital Series Festival! The festival serves as a point of union for the best independent content creators from around the world to come together. In addition to screenings they will also be running a Marketplace, which will be for one to one meetings, producers round tables, matchmaking, keynote speakers, case studies and workshops. Scrrenings will be shown at historical theatres around town and the awards will be given out during the the Los Otsoa Awards Gala in the Guggenheim Museum! All of this will be taking place October 24th-27th. We are thrilled to say that Naturally Ours has been nominated for Best Short Show Content!

 

We are greatly looking forward to continuing on our journey to see where we end up next!

TEDxWarsaw Talk: Erica Speaks on Transmedia Character Development

Erica

Erica in Action

 

Our own Erica Hargreave was fortunate to enjoy an enriching experience as she spoke to a group of enthusiastic storytellers at a TEDx event in Warsaw.  Now we all have the great fortune to enjoy what she shared!  Both entertaining and informative, Erica created a mini storyworld right on the stage as she enveloped different characters to demonstrate her unique brand of transmedia character development, and the permission we must allow ourselves to be creative.

 

 

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Canada Remembers

Thanks to Thomega Entertainment and their Canada Remembers Documentary Series, we are reminded every year at Remembrance Day of the importance of this day, and the importance of taking the time for some quiet reflection of the freedoms and safety we enjoy, thanks to those that have faced unimaginable horrors on our behalf.  Tony Towstego has taken the time to help the Veterans to share their stories, before we have lost them, reminding us how important it is to thank these soldiers.

 

Canada Remembers Documentary Series

Thomega Entertainment’s Canada Remembers Documentary Series

 

For us, these stories have touched our souls and impacted our conscience that much more profoundly, as we spent weeks poring over the videos in the making of Educational Guides to accompany the Canada Remembers Documentary Series. That, and with our travels through Roamancing, it is continually driven home for us just how very fortunate we are that our Veterans and present soldiers have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. As a result, we feel it is important on Remembrance Day to both Remember and to Act.  What I mean by Act, is to get out and thank a Veteran or Soldier, and / or to share with our youngsters the importance of the day – Lest We Forget.

This Remembrance Day, Thomega Entertainment has shared with us their latest Canada Remembers Documentary on Henry Beaudry, the Story Keeper  …

 

 

You can also catch their 2011 Canada Remembers: Festival for Heroes on City TV Saskatchewan TONIGHT at 11 pm …

 

 

Thank you Tony for raising our conscience and awareness for Remembrance Day, and for sharing the stories of our Veterans and Soldiers before they are lost forever!

In the Online Classroom this Autumn, Teaching Interactive Storytelling

BCIT StoryToGoWe are excited to be starting a whole new chapter of teaching and storytelling for us this Autumn, with our first post-secondary accredited online course in Interactive Storytelling available through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Department (formerly Part-Time Broadcast Studies). This means that anybody can register and take this course from anywhere in the world, on their time, and they don’t have to be a regular student of BCIT. Pretty cool!

It also means for us, that we, ourselves have been experimenting with both new methods of digital storytelling and teaching to better reach our students. So we have created course videos, webinars, step-by-step technology manuals, interactive quizzes, and discussion boards … and that is just been the beginning. We look forward to experimenting with new ways of connecting and engaging with our students as the Course gets underway.  As the Course content has already all been built, we also love that this now places the emphasis in teaching, on engaging with our students, and trouble-shooting with them, as they begin to build their own interactive storytelling projects. Here’s a little of what you can expect from the Course:

 

Our course is not the only new online storytelling course this term through BCIT StoryToGo‘s Media Storytelling Department. Thanks to Steve Dotto, Marty Strong and I discussed storytelling and the online courses available through BCIT StoryToGo last week on the Dotto Tech Radio Show on AM 650. You can listen to the broadcast here:

The three Courses available online through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Program this Autumn, include:

You can also catch an online course with Steve Dotto, as he launches his own series of online courses in Email Management and ProTECHtivity.

Great People We Meet on the Road, Speaking on a Sustainable Future in Tourism

One of the things I have been loving about all of the great traveling we’ve been doing with Roamancing this past year are the lovely and interesting people we’ve been meeting around the world, including the two in this video, Mohamed A. El Monem and Audrey Scott:

 

 

Mohamed is the host of a couple of Shows on Egyptian Satellite TV and an excellent interviewer, especially as he was translating on top of that.  Audrey and I also had fun debating some pretty weighty topics with him.

Audrey, like us, is a digital storyteller, and I might add, an excellent one.  She and her husband, Daniel Noll, have been focused on digital storytelling around travel with their site, UncorneredMarket.com. Also similar to us, they focus on the human side of travel, waking people’s minds up to cultures around the world.  They are beautiful people inside and out, and I feel very fortunate to have spent a fair bit of time with them the past few months.

 

Mohamed and Audrey on Egyptian Satellite TV

 

I am excited for tonight, as they will be speaking on Sustainability in Travel in Vancouver, which means I get to sit back and listen to a few more of their stories.  Pleased to share that there are still tickets, so you can enjoy them too. Here are the details:

 

  • What?  Future of Tourism Vancouver
  • When?  TONIGHT – May 31st, 2012 at 6:45 pm
  • Where?  The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts (777 Homer St., Vancouver)
  • Cost?  By Donation
  • Register:  Future of Tourism Vancouver Eventbrite

UNWTO Travel & Media Conference: #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Presentation

For those of you that sadly could not be with Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market and I at the UNWTO Tourism and Media Conference last week on Egypt’s Red Sea, here is a slide share of our presentation on our #WeVisitEgypt ‘Real’ Time Digital Travel Storytelling Demonstration.

 

 

With any luck, we will also get our paws on the video that was shot of our presentation to share with all of you too.

 

Live Streaming #WeVisitEgypt from UNWTO Conference on Media and Tourism in Marsa Alam, Egypt

Greetings from Egypt!

 

Follow along on our Egyptian Adventure with #WeVisitEgypt

 

In a few short hours, Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market and I will be presenting our ‘Real’ Time Travel Storytelling Demonstration, #WeVisitEgypt, for the UNWTO Conference on Media and Tourism, Partnering with Media in Challenge Times. I am pleased to share that the conference will be streaming this live, so you should be able to watch below.

Our session is at 12:30 pm in Marsa Alam, which will be 6:30 am EST and 3:30 am PST, so I realise that many of you will not be awake. If that is case, you should be able to watch a saved version of this here for you later in the day.

 


Streaming by Ustream

You can also catch more of the conference at Live Streaming the 2nd UNWTO Conference on Tourism and Media.

#WeVisitEgypt ~ A Digital Egyptian Travel Tale

Courtesy of Audrey Scott & Daniel Noll of UnCornered Market

 

We are Roamancing Egypt (again)!

As some of you may be aware we launched Emme Rogers and Brie Mason into their latest digital, interactive transmedia tale this past summer, Roamancing ~  a travel tale in search of those most elusive of creatures: love and romance.  We’ve been having fun with it and for those of you that are familiar with Emme, I am sure you can imagine the silly shenanigans and characters we’ve met along the way, from being presented with a key to City of Yorkton with the fabulous Katrina German to forever bumping into a few delightfully mischievious Blues Men that have wormed their way into our hearts and our stories. With a trip to Egypt this past December to speak at the International Organisation for E-Tourism Conference in Cairo, Lori Yearwood and I decided that like many of the wonderful storytellers that we work with, it was time to weave ourself into our own tales.  I am glad we did, as I had a lot of fun telling a tale or two with Lucy Duck and the Roamancing Red Boots in Egypt, and I am proud to say I am the first of our team to have done the Roamancing strut overseas (even if I looked ridiculous in doing so).

 

Lucy prepares to enter the Mosque

 

One of the realisations from being in Cairo during demonstrations in Tahrir Square, was the impact of mainstream media images on people back home.  I was perfectly safe and having a grand time, yet perceptions from media images in North America were that Egypt was in a state of violence and chaos.  The biggest threat to me?  Too many marriage proposals.  Here are two posts I wrote on the topic, upon returning home:

It struck me that when we’ve seen images of rioting in Canada, no one worries for ones safety in still visiting the country.  That is not the case with Egypt, as the culture is so different from our own.  Yet I felt welcomed and safe in visiting Egypt and saw how damaging the media images from Tahrir Square have been to Egyptian Tourism, a major player in the Egyptian economy.

 

Hmm … Clearly the ‘flat’ aspect of the bread making was lost of me.

 

It is for this reason that we have been consulting with the Egyptian Tourism Authority on using digital storytelling to share the wonderful and exciting travel experiences that you can have in Egypt in ‘real’ time. I am also pleased to share that the Egyptian Tourism Authority has similarly been consulting with two of the wonderful digital storytellers and fellow speakers that I recently met in Cairo, Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott. Daniel and Audrey are the husband-and-wife storytelling team behind the award winning travel blog, Uncornered Market. For over five years, they have continuously travelled around the world, inspiring others to create their own life and travel experiences.

Together with Audrey and Dan, I will be heading to Egypt from April 21 – 29, 2012 with Emme Rogers, Lucy Duck, and the Roamancing Red Boots in tow to share our adventures in Egypt in ‘real’ time and demonstrate for the World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) Conference on Media and Tourism: Partnering with the Media in Challenging Times how digital media and travel bloggers can be used to change the conversation about tourist destinations challenged by negative perceptions related to current events.  As a part of this, Dan, Audrey and I will be hosting an informal session with the Egyptian Tourism Authority at the beginning of the  Conference on Thursday April 26th, 2012 to demonstrate our #WeVisitEgypt digital storytelling campaign.

 

Audrey Scott & Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market in Cairo

 

We invite you to join us on our Digital Egyptian Adventure by following along with the hastag #WeVisitEgypt on your social networking feeds, as well as through uncorneredmarket.comroamancing.com and emmerogers.com.  Furthermore, we invite you to join us in demonstrating to Tourism how effective digital media, including social media and blogging can be in sharing a message. Here are some ways that you can become involved in the #WeVisitEgypt Campaign:

  • Share what we are doing in Egypt and the #WeVisitEgypt hashtag to your media channels;
  • Follow #WeVisitEgypt on your social networking channels and retweet content that appeals to you;
  • Interact with us on our adventure at @UMarket@Roamancing@EmmeRogers and @EricaHargreave; and
  • Share your own photos, video and blog posts from Egypt with the #WeVisitEgypt hashtag (and we will do our best to retweet them).

Thank you in advance for whatever ways you decide to join in the #WeVisitEgypt Adventure.

Best wishes,

Erica Hargreave

Happy 2012!

2011 was a year of challenges, both personally and in business.

In terms of Ahimsa Media, it was a year that saw much growth in the company in a positive way, in which Lori and I really were able to make some informed decisions on the direction we wanted to take the company.  It was also a very busy year for the company, in which we:

  • Built the social media strategy around a number of television series;
  • Managed the digital storytelling, digital audience building and social networking for 6 TV Series and Films;
  • Wrote successful funding applications for clients;
  • Taught at 3 Post-Secondary Institution across Canada, including a grad school lab;
  • Spoke around the World at film festivals and travel conferences on the digital space;
  • Launched a new transmedia travel property, Roamancing, with Emme Rogers; and
  • Sat on the Advisory Board for Merging Media and the Adhoc Advisory Board for a new Digital Program at a Post-Secondary Institution.

It even ended personally with 2 marriage proposals in 2-days, but then I guess that’s Egypt for you.

As we head into 2012, we look forward to exciting new challenges, growing as speakers around the world, building in the travel industry in addition to the fun we have with the film and television world, and of course, a little Roamancing (before long we shall have this word in everyones vocabulary, as really who doesn’t want to roamance).

 


Happy New Year everyone!  Wishing you a year of love, health, happiness and a whole of fun, wherever your adventures end up taking you.

With love and laughter from,

Erica, Lori and the rest of the Ahimsa Media gang

Merging Media 2011

Two principles that Ahimsa Media has been built upon are education and the sharing of ideas and collaborating with others.  This is what we did back in the day with Megan Cole and Bridging Media to encourage the conversation between technology, digital media and traditional media.  When Megan and I got busy on other projects, I am glad that others picked up where we left off with the conversation.  Most notable of these is Vancouver’s Merging Media Conference, which I have had the honour of sitting on the Advisory Board for the past two years.

No Conference is ever perfect, but this one rates highly in my books, because it encourages a conversation with media makers and technologists from a number of different sectors, including traditional media, emerging media, social media and gaming; and it invites in a number of different voices and opinions from around North America. On top of that, Merging Media provides the opportunity for people to connect through networking events, B2B meetings, and a Master’s Class. For me these are the key ingredients to evolving our ideas and creating the future of media.  It is thanks to events, like this, that we have built a valuable network of colleagues, partners, contractors and friends over the years.

Can Convergent Roulette at Merging Media 2010, photographed by Liz Kearsley.

Merging Media 2011 takes place in Vancouver this week – Thursday October 27th & Friday October 28th – and it is not too late to take part.  You can still sign up.

Some of the highlights:

  • An impressive list of speakers (I’d mention them all, but there are a lot of them, including many that I adore and love listening to) on some interesting topics, including gaming, monetizing, technology, traditional media in an interactive landscape …etc.
  • International B2B (Business to Business) Sessions
  • The VEDC Innovation Gallery where our BC Technology companies will be demoing their latest ‘Tools of Engagement’.

I am also pleased to share that we will be pitching our latest project with Emme Rogers and friends, Roamancing, as a part of the Pitch 360. This is not only a project that we are having a lot of fun with, but that truly reflects the nature of this events, as it combines the efforts and creativity of a number of people world-wide from traditional media, emerging media, social media and gaming.

Hope to see you at Merging Media this week!

Erica