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Digital series set to empower Indigenous girls

Digital series set to empower Indigenous girls

They’re young, they’re fierce and they’re changing the way the next generation of indigenous women see themselves and the world around them.

Fierce Girls is a new international online series aimed at young indigenous girls, providing them with an engaging immersive story using a range of social media platforms. It will feature live action and animation.

The transmedia co-production revolves around two young women who discover they have superpowers. Funded by New Zealand On Air and the Canadian Media Fund, the series will be launched on June 21 at the Toronto Film Festival.

Characters Anika (Te Arawa/Ngāpuhi) and Kisik (Canadian Cree Indian) may be separated by geography but they share their journey together as they begin to learn how to control the newfound abilities that were gifted to them by their ancestors.

Save the world or study for their exams – the pair will face some tough decisions as their lives begin to intertwine and they come to realise something is very wrong with the natural world – water is polluted, animals dying and forests are retreating – Anika and Kisik are the healers of the land and their people, “raised human – born divine”.

Recognising the power of indigenous storytelling with an international cultural connection, Fierce Girls transports the audience on an interactive journey through a variety of digital platforms – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube – told through the eyes of native Cree Canadians and the Māori people of Aotearoa. In turn, the audience can interact with the characters and join the community of co-creators to help the girls’ mission to save the world.

The show’s creators and producers hope to empower young women to determine their own futures, positive communities and a brighter world for everyone around them.

“Fierce Girls allows for many stories, many experiences and diverse expressions of being indigenous, young and female. [It] was designed specifically as an intersection between social change, art and digital media,” creator and showrunner, Loretta Todd (Métis Cree Canadian) says.

New Zealand producer, Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule says young Māori girls need to see themselves represented within digital content.

“I have a 10-year-old daughter and 11 nieces who all need content like this. It shows them that you can draw power from your tikanga, from your tupuna, but it’s real too, we deal with homelessness and racism but our girls use indigenous ways of being to find solutions to the challenges they face.”

This age was far more likely to listen to their friends and influencers than educators, whānau and parents, Biasiny-Tule says.

“Instagram has shown it has been instrumental in spreading unrealistic depictions of bodies to girls and other more insidious messaging therefore we have hijacked Instagram creating real, positive role models, making a difference, proud of who they are both as young girls and as indigenous people that audiences can relate to and befriend.”

On the production team along with Todd and Biasiny-Tule is New Zealand production manager and chief executive of WorkShed Productions in South Korea, David Oxenbridge, New Zealand animation director Nige Ward, New Zealand writer Turene Huiarau Jones, New Zealand social media co-ordinator Chanz Mikaere and digital guru Potaua Biasiny-Tule.

Fierce Girls

  • Set to premiere on June 21 at the Toronto Film Festival
  • The digital tansmedia co-production is funded by New Zealand On Air and the Canadian Media Fund
  • A new international collaboration aimed at young indigenous girls providing them with an engaging immersive story using a range of digital platforms.
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