The story of Stories First Productions began back in 2007 in Vancouver B.C., brought to life by Producer/Owner Leena Minifie, a Gitxaala Nation and British journalist, storyteller and media professional with twenty-five years of experience in film and storytelling and a decade of work in digital strategy. Producing captivating stories that engage and inform both Indigenous and settler audiences was the intention of the incorporated independent BC film production company. With very few producers from the nations on the West Coast of Canada and while traditional storytellers are finding their place in an era of online entertainment, Stories First aims to help fill the silence with Indigenous voices.
Looking ahead, Minifie and Stories First along with Taiga Pictures will be embarking on the production of Jonny Appleseed a 7-part television series as EP and Producer, with Joshua Whitehead as EP and Brad Fraser as co-showrunner, Simon Faber, Taiga Pictures EP and Producer. She will also be co-directing and co-producing a ‘big idea’ investigative feature documentary, The Good Canadian, with David Paperny and with Sarah Jane Flynn as EP. She will also be co-writing and co-producing The Last Resort, a 12 X part 30 mins sitcom, directed and co-written by Brooke Swaney and with Haydn Wazelle as EP/Producer.
These projects come after working as in many producer roles and cultural liaison for BONES OF CROWS, on LILY GLADSTONE: FAR OUT THERE (PBS); BRITISH COLUMBIA – AN UNTOLD HISTORY (Knowledge); THE RECKONING: SECRETS UNEARTHED BY TK’EMLUPS TE SECWEPEMC (CBC) and producing the interactive piece SENSE OF HOME (Best New Media ImagineNative 2012), and ?E?anx ‘THE CAVE’ (Sundance Festival 2011, TIFF Top Ten Shorts). Now an award-winning series producer whose projects have been nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards and won multiple Leos, she previously led the Stories First team through the strategic marketing and impact production of INDIAN HORSE, THE GRIZZLIES, MONKEY BEACH, THE NEW CORPORATION, NIGHT RAIDERS, and RUN WOMAN RUN.
A founder of Ricochet Media’s Indigenous Reporting Fund, Minifie has produced stories for organizations such as CBC Radio One news and APTN National News and is a BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women and Bell Reelworld Producer’s Program fellow. Creating and amplifying the reach of untold stories through film and digital tools is the heartwork and the centre of Stories First, informed by her diploma of Independent Indigenous Filmmaking from Capilano University and speciality in Indigenous Studies and New Media at the Institute of American Indian Arts in the USA.