Two artists with a Yorkton-connection have been awarded grants from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
Media artist Daniel Redenbach, formerly of Yorkton, and now in Toronto, ON., has been awarded a $3,731 Independent Artists grant to complete pre-production and production phases of the short dramatic narrative film, The Cold Hearted.
Musician Angus Vincent, who has lived in Yorkton since 2009, has been awarded a $3,000 Indigenous Pathways Initiative grant to commit himself to writing, composing and rehearsing original songs.
Independent Artists grants support the creation, development or performance of new work in any art form, professional development for artists and research in the arts. These grants support the ongoing development of artistic practice in Saskatchewan as well as independent curators and critics in all disciplines.
The Indigenous Pathways Initiative grant program aims to increase access to public funding by Indigenous artists in Saskatchewan, either to develop their artistic/cultural practices or to share their art, skills and teachings.
Redenbach’s project is one of “a couple I have on the go,” he said.
The project the grant money will be used to help produce is The Cold Hearted.
“It all goes into production, paying for crew, the art department,” he said.
Vincent said such grants are important for new artists to help them establish themselves.
“I have received support from the Arts Board in previous years and have been tremendously grateful toward them for it,” he said. “They have helped me improve my fan reach, my musical network, and ultimately my song writing. I have been able to focus on my craft while tightening up some of my creative works and preparing them for the next phase, recording.
“The support I received is huge, in any artist’s eyes. To this artist, it has given me the opportunity to increase my song list with a couple more songs and has helped me iron out a future plan which has been always been to professionally record an album.
“I have been working on writing more songs and increasing my catalogue of original songs. I have sought advice from fellow musicians in the industry looking for ways to increase my professional knowledge base and increase my network of industry contacts who could potentially play a role in my leap forward.”
In the case of Redenbach’s The Cold Hearted, the grant money is more important than ever since the film has some additional costs associated with it.
“It’s a period piece, so it’s a bit more expensive to make,” said Redenbach. “… I’m trying to do something a little bit bigger, so every bit of financing helps.”
So why take on the added expenses associated with a period piece?
“It’s a story that really, really interests me,” he said.
And it is a story which has a connection to the Yorkton region too.
Redenbach, who was born in Yorkton leaving after high school, said it is set in 1907, and ties to the land rush and the arrival of the Doukhobours.
“It’s a super fascinating little piece of history,” he said.
While Redenbach’s film has a connection to Yorkton, he said it will likely be shot close to Regina. Although they still need to scout locations to shoot, he said being based in Regina cuts costs as most of the film crew he will require are based there.
Redenbach was asked if finding crew was difficult based on the province’s decision in 2012 to change the film tax credit program in the province, a decision largely viewed as negative by the film industry.
“For projects of this size it’s still kind of OK. There’s still a network of crew,” he said.
But The Cold Hearted is only a 20-minute short, with a crew of about 15, and a small cast with only three main roles.
Redenbach said larger projects struggle in the new Saskatchewan environment. He was an assistant director on Wolf Cop, a highly anticipated film to release in April, which shot in the province recently with a budget of $2 million.
“To find crew for a larger project is very, very difficult,” he offered.
The Cold Hearted may be only 20-minutes Redenbach said he wants to make it as well as possible.
“We’re doing everything to maximum capacity,” he said. “We want it to be a very visual, cinematic experience.”
For Vincent, the money will continue his exploration of music, something which has held his interest from the time he was a young teen.
“As far as I can remember, music has always been a part of my life, whether I was dressing up in shades trying sing the ‘Boy in the Box’ or learning the dance moves from the ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ video, music has played a huge role in molding me into the musician I am today. My mother used to sing to me as well and always encouraged me to sing from the heart,” he offered.
That early interest was something he built on through self effort.
“All training that I’ve had has been learned on my own. From playing guitar, drums, piano or bass to singing that high note, my passion has always driven me to learn and continue to grow as a musician,” said Vincent. “I remember taking a few voice workshops 12 years ago or so but honestly, I can barely remember what they taught. I guess I wasn’t as passionate then as I am now.”
He added, “my kind of music has been described as an Indie-Rock-Folk-type sound that gets melodies trapped in your head and unwillingly gets your toe-a-tappin’. I started playing cover songs a number of years ago and then branched out and started writing songs. When I start playing my guitar, the song usually finds me. With the song comes the tempo, chord progression and the broad strokes on the canvas. After that comes the fine-tuning.”
For samples of Vincent’s music click www.reverbnation.com/angusvincent
An Arts Board release noted “for the quarter ending December 31, 2013, the Saskatchewan Arts Board awarded over 140 grants to individuals and organizations, totaling more than $1.2 million. Arts Board funding supports a variety of initiatives, including organizations that provide ongoing programs in the arts, the creative work of professional artists, community art projects and the engagement of professional artists to work in schools with students and teachers.
“The Saskatchewan Arts Board was established in 1948 as the first agency of its kind in North America and second in the world to the Arts Council of Great Britain. In the decades since then, it has continued as a leader in Canada and builds on this strong tradition to meet ongoing opportunities for public investment in the arts community. The Arts Board’s mission is to cultivate an environment in which the arts thrive for the benefit of everyone in Saskatchewan. For more information on the Saskatchewan Arts Board and its Permanent Collection, visit www.artsboard.sk.ca