This article was originally published in the June 2012 issue of The Voice, CCO's monthly e-newsletter.
Virginia Barter has always been a storyteller. It’s no surprise that after losing her job as a Senior Researcher for the Métis Nation of Ontario in 2007, she decided to find a new way to tell stories.
Barter signed up for the film and television production and post-production program at Trebas Institute’s Toronto campus with the help of Second Career Funding.
“Film and television are such a great medium for telling stories in a visual way,” said 58 year old Barter. ”It’s about communicating with people on different levels.”
During the one year program, Barter produced and directed a nine minute historical film about a little known Canadian explorer named Samuel Hearne.
The film, Hearne, received accolades from the Trebas International Student Film Awards in 2010, winning Best Picture, Best Sound Design, Best Music and Best Actor. Hearne was also showcased at the Lucerne International Film Festival in Switzerland in 2011.
Because of the complexities associated with producing a historical film, Barter says she doesn’t think she would have been able to do it anywhere else. She credits her passionate instructor Kalman Szegvary for giving her the green light and believing in her project.
Szegvary, Head of film/television at Trebas Institute, describes Barter as a very savvy producer and says shooting the short film was quite intense.
“It was magical,” he said. “I was astonished at her historical knowledge of that period.”
Szegvary is very proud of his former student’s accomplishments and sees her going far.
“In the filmmaking world, she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “I see her being really successful in the Canadian film industry.”
Barter has not only had recent film success, but the Rogers TV program Urban Aboriginal, for which she was a community producer and host, was nominated for a Golden Sheaf award this year.
With extensive knowledge in Canadian and aboriginal history, and experience in business, research, and theatre, she says she hopes to find a niche in the Canadian film industry.
“Personally, I think in the next year my career is really going to take off,” said Barter. “I’m excited about where I am.”
Barter is currently in the post-production phase of a documentary called “The Buffalo People,” volunteering at Rogers TV and working on her goal of making Hearne into a feature-length film.
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