A Lethbridge creator was able to create his first comedy feature with funding from Telus StoryHive. Faris Hytiaa got $20,000 in funding for his project titled Send Help, which he says is unique in the way it melds dramatized skits with his comedy set at Good Times Comedy Club.
“Some specials have intercut documentary style interviews throughout a special and things like that to add context I guess sometimes to what they are talking about.” he says. “What we tried to do was film these like vignettes – these scenes that are dramatized. They are written and we are acting and they are not all funny either so that’s the other thing.”
Hytiaa says the project would not have been possible without StoryHive funding. The funding was part of StoryHive’s Black Creators Edition, which is in recognition of Black history month, which he calls an example of a company putting “money where their mouth is.”
“I think it’s become a thing now every year to exchange platitudes of, ‘we’ll use buzzwords and we will say what we want to say to express some sort of hollow support,” he Hytiaa says. “Telus were, one obviously very generous with the funding side of things but then also they didn’t really try to control what we said and that goes a really long way in terms of giving creators actual freedom to be able to say what they want to say and criticize what they want to criticize or be open open and honest about our experience, even if it is harrowing or more difficult to communicate to people that haven’t gone through it.”
Along with visibility for him and other Black creators, Hytiaa says he is also grateful for the impact StoryHive funding has on Lethbridge.
“It made it possible for me to hire people and pay them for their work and pay them reasonably for their work, not having to underpay everyone and not having to ask for favours. People were able to come in and not worry about finances and really commit to the project and it’s nice to be able to put that kind of money into the art scene in my own community,” Hytiaa says.
Send Help follows Hytiaa through the COVID-19 pandemic and dramatizes pieces of inspiration for his comedy. It can be watched on Story Hive’s YouTube Channel.