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Stories That Transform Us is much more than simply a look at Urban Ink's history; it's a reflection of a time in history when diverse voices were not heard.


Stories That Transform Us is a celebratory 90-minute documentary film created to mark Urban Ink's 20th anniversary, but it is so much more than a retrospective; it is a reimagining.

The world premiere of this film will be featured at VIFF on Oct. 6 at 8:30pm followed by VIFF Talks with Director Corey Payette and guests to discuss their journeys as change makers pushing artistic boundaries while working in both the theatre and film.

Stories That Transform Us is much more than simply a look at Urban Ink's history; it's a reflection of a time in history when diverse voices and their stories were not heard. In telling the story of Urban Ink's foundation and how it evolved over the years, the film looks back on the depth and scope of the company's history through past productions with re-imagined creative shorts of some diverse theatrical works produced since Urban Ink's inception in 2001. Featured are shorts from Burning Vision by Marie Clements, Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of.... by Omari Newton, Children of God, a musical by Corey Payette, Moonlodge by Margo Kane, Sedna by Corey Payette, Reneltta Arluk, and Marshall McMahen, and Les Filles du Roi, a musical by Corey Payette and Julie McIsaac.

"Stories is not just a film about Urban Ink's trailblazing leaders who have inspired and led real change in the cultural sector. The conversations highlight a beautiful introspective into the thoughts, minds, and feelings of equity-seeking artists," stated Melissa Tsang, Executive Producer. "During this exceptional time of a global pandemic, the conversations in the film remind us of the power and importance of theatre and storytelling. Listening to the film's conversations, and watching the selective creative shorts, while only a sliver of the work that Urban Ink has done of the past twenty years, we truly have a lot to celebrate. We hope this film will also honour all who have been part of the Urban Ink circle in the past two decades, as we move forward into the next twenty years ahead."

The film illustrates how it all began, featuring the artistic leaders that helped shape Urban Ink, and how their work created a space where diverse and Indigenous stories could be heard. Interwoven with the creative shorts are conversations with the trailblazing artists that played a significant role in the company's 20-year history. The conversations with each of the three Artistic Directors are extremely inspiring, moving, and humble in their contribution to the company, describing the challenges faced and their vision for the future.

The discussion begins with Urban Ink's founding Artistic Director Marie Clements who started the company with the purposeful mission of the absolute necessity of storytelling. Building on this strong foundation, accomplished interdisciplinary theatre artist Diane Roberts followed as its next Artistic Director. Diane is a cultural leader who cultivated and continued to nurture the vision for Urban Ink that encourages Indigenous ways of knowing as a stepping stone to creative expression. Current Artistic Director, Corey Payette, has been at the company's helm since 2014 and has expanded its audience and connected to new communities. He is also a theatre creator, having created the award-winning musical, Children of God, the trilingual show, Les Filles du Roi, and most recently Sedna, a majestic puppet spectacle.

Urban Ink is now taking flight in this time in Canada's history, playing a significant role in breaking barriers as never before. The film is inspiring, uplifting, beautifully shot, and not to be missed.

Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes

Tickets are $15 available at: VIFF Talks tickets

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