The Indigenous Screen Office celebrates Indigenous filmmakers, producers, writers, directors and more in this series. In ISO Storytellers, you will learn more about the artists who have benefitted from the support of ISO funding.
Kassia Ward is an animator, content creator, and director from Enoch Cree First Nation. Her artistic inspiration comes from her school work, traveling, photos, nature, vivid dreams, life experiences, and her Cree culture. After graduating from VanArts in 2018 with a diploma in 3D character animation, she was selected for the 2019 Hot House 12 animation apprenticeship with the National Film Board of Canada. Through this program, she wrote, directed, and animated a one minute short entitled Collector about the psychology of semi-private spaces and how they can lure people into thinking they are alone. Collector has been shown at film festivals like imagineNATIVE, Spark Animation, and GIRAF.
Kassia is a recipient of the Indigenous Screen Office/Netflix Indigenous Production Apprenticeship grant. Through this program, Kassia worked as an animation intern with E.D. Films, where she gained production experience and helped test software for the studio. She worked on her animation skills, created digital art, and developed a few projects. Kassia also received a development grant from the Indigenous Screen Office for a project based on her family history.
Kassia is currently working as a freelance animator and developing a live-action/animated anthology series entitled The Stories of our Ancestors that entwines animated and traditional oral stories into a live-action Indigenous family’s misadventure.
Interview with Kassia
ISO: Describe your experience.
Kassia: I worked as an animation intern with E.D. Films. E.D. Films is a Montreal-based boutique animation studio that has created short and long linear films, V.R., immersive experiences for galleries and museums, and technology such as plug-ins, technical creation tools, and digital products. With the help of my mentor, I built a snowy, Indigenous V.R. world, worked on my animation fundamentals, and worked on my drawing skills. I also developed content and pitched an idea at the Ottawa Pitch This semi-finals competition, learned about grant writing and budgets, and animated a scene for a team project.
ISO: Why was it important to you to receive ISO funding?
Kassia: It was vital for me to receive the ISO funding for my internship because I needed more training and work experience. In addition, without the funding, I would not have been able to work for an artist-led studio that inspired, motivated, and encouraged me to achieve my goals.
ISO: What is one of your favourite memories from this project?
Kassia: There were so many! But I would say when I worked as part of the team on the Indigenous Peoples Experience for Fort Edmonton Park. I got to sit in some team meetings with local elders and listen to their feedback and advice. It was fantastic to see our elders’ knowledge respected. As a result, authentic Indigenous stories are on display at the park.
ISO: What best practice can you share that you learned from this project?
Kassia: I learned to be open to new experiences and learn new things. If you are open to new experiences and putting yourself out there, you will be surprised at what the universe has in store (stop listening to the voice that tells you no, you can’t do that).
ISO: If your film or project is finished, where can people see it?
Kassia: My internship with E.D. Films has ended. However, we are working together to bring my live-action/animated anthology series to life. Stay tuned for that! For now, you can check out some of my animation exercises, my V.R. world, and drawings on Instagram: @knobile.animation.