1491 Writer/Director Receives 2019 Indspire Arts Award
February 2019 – When Victoria-based filmmaker Barbara Todd Hager, along with 11 other Indigenous achievers from throughout Canada, travelled to Calgary to receive their Inspire Awards in front of an audience of 2,000 people. The event, which included several live music performances, will be broadcast nationally on APTN and CBC on June 23, 2019. Previous recipients of the Arts award include Adam Beach, Corrine Hunt, Thomas King, Tantoo Cardinal, Art Thompson, Robert Davidson and Thompson Highway.
This was not the first time that Hager had been involved in this national award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit achievers. In 1994, she worked as the project coordinator for the very first awards, then called the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. Twenty-five years later, life has come full circle for the Métis filmmaker, writer and director.
“When the first awards took place in 1994, it was a celebration of the United Nations Year of Indigenous Peoples. Everyone thought it would be a one time event, ” Hager recalls. “But it’s just kept going because the awards fulfill an important role in Indigenous communities in Canada – to honour and celebrate the achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.”
For the past 15 years, Hager has been producing, directing and writing Indigenous documentaries for APTN, CTV, CBC and ZDF (Germany), including the Leo Award winning docu-drama series 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus. She serves on the board of the Victoria Film Festival, and was the Indigenous film programmer for the 2019 festival.
After working on the 1994 awards, Hager wrote a book that profiles 16 recipients of the awards. Honour Song (Raincoast Books, 1996), includes biographical essays that she wrote after interviewing such notable role models as Elijah Harper, Susan Aglukark, Graham Greene, Robert Davidson, Ted Nolan and Angela Chalmers.
Hager currently works for the University of Victoria as an Indigenous communications specialist, and mentors young Indigenous filmmakers through the Telus Storyhive program.
“Winning an Indspire Award made me realize that it’s not enough to to reach your own personal career goals,” Hager said. “You have to share your knowledge and skills with Indigenous youth who are pursuing post-secondary education and embarking on careers.”
1491 Series Wins three 2018 Leo Awards
May 2018 – We are pleased to announce that 1491 has won three Canadian Leo Awards for Best Documentary Series, Best Screenwriting in a Documentary Series (Barbara Todd Hager) and Best Musical Composition in a Documentary Series (Russell Wallace). The Leo Awards are the largest regional movie and television awards program in North America and are awarded to programs produced and created by residents of British Columbia, Canada.
BEFORE COLUMBUS: 1491 International Film Festival
1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus had its world premiere on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) in Canada on November 8, 2017. Later that week it premiered in Austalia on SBS-NITV.
November 31 – December 1, 2017 – Producer Barbara Hager attended the Indspire Gathering of Indigenous Educators in Montreal. Many thanks to McIntyre Media, our educational distributor, for screening 1491 for teachers during the conference.