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Sonya Ballantyne

Creative Director
Code Breaker Films
Sonya Ballantyne en costume de super-héros
Sonya Ballantyne en costume de super-héros
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Sonya Ballantyne is the Creative Director for Code Breaker Films.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in The Pas Manitoba and grew up in Grand Rapids (Misipawistik) and Easterville (Chemawawin), Manitoba. 

I now live in: Winnipeg Manitoba.

I completed my training/education at: I have a Bachelor Degree in Social Psychology. I also attended the University of Winnipeg (film school) and National Screen Institute (New Voice Program, Aboriginal Documentary).

What I do at work

A lot of the technology I work with revolves largely around cameras, lenses, and digital editing. I also work with camera drones. There is also a lot of math in the budgeting for a film and mental math used on set. One page of script is one minute of screen time. One minute of a finished product is often one hour of raw footage.

The majority of my job focuses on the creation of content. Right now, we are working on a TV show and trying to get the budget in place for the very first episode. We are also working on our first feature film, which I am writing. Since this project is in development, I am currently submitting applications to secure funding for production.

I work closely with my two business partners who I started my company with. We complement each other well. For example, my business partner Luther is much better at technology than I am. My other partner Sage is much better at the administrative details of our work. I am the face of our company and go out to pitch us to various organizations or get people interested in working with us on a project they have. We try to create art regardless of the content. If we are filming a thing for something boring like insurance, we will make sure the video we create is interesting and beautiful.

My career path is

I have always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I found out people got paid for writing, I thought "that is exactly my sort of scam". Though I have had some training for my creative work, a lot of my learning came from reading a lot and practicing. In high school, I was told that writing wasn't something a Native woman could do because there weren't any who did. All the books in my ELA class had author pictures with white men in them with university education.

When I went to university, I focused on getting a career that was more "secure". I complete a degree in Social Psychology. However, my heart always wanted to be a writer so I started going to film workshops and took part in writing contests. I went back to school and completed a Bachelor Degree in Film and Graphic Arts. It was tough as I was older than my classmates were.  My career right now is varied. I do talks at schools or conferences. I produce films for others and I write books. It is so bizarre to be a public speaker because I am naturally a shy person. Check out my LinkedIn profile for more information. 

I am motivated by

Realizing that people wanted the stories I wanted to tell continues to motivate me. It takes a long time to see a project through to completion so hearing this sort of excitement for my work keeps me going. I love how many opportunities come up just by being a writer. I wanted to write books but instead I have written TV episodes, voice over narration for documentaries, and speeches for myself. I have also written graphic novels and essays for anthologies. It's never just one thing. For example, I will be writing a video game soon. I always have ideas popping into my head and so I feel suited for this type of work. The best part of my job is hearing what people have to say about things I create. When I did a TedX talk, I had been worried that only Indigenous women would understand my talk. However, I connected with so many different types of people who were touched by what I had said.

How I affect peoples’ lives

I started this career because I never saw an Indigenous person in the sort of movies I liked to watch. Now I create the stories I've always wanted to see and also provide opportunities for Indigenous actors and other creatives who also wanted to do that. I feel the media has a powerful impact on how people are portrayed and I want to change that with my work.

Outside of work I

I love video games (Dead by Daylight is a personal favorite right now) and I dance ballet. I also read probably two books a month. I'm also interested in podcasting. My favorite podcast is We Hate Movies and I also created one called "Live from the Pool House” which is about the TV show Fresh Prince.

My advice to others

Your stories matter!

I am indigenous

I am a member of the Swampy Cree of Misipawistik and Chemawawin

 

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Literature and Language Arts
  • Law
  • Music
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Played video games
  • Was really creative
  • Never wanted to be in the classroom
  • Always knew what I wanted to do
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing and berry picking
  • Watched a lot of TV

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