Erica Daniels and the Visionary Journey of Kejic Productions
Tuesday, August 1st | In the world of filmmaking and entrepreneurship, few stories are as inspiring as that of Erica Daniels and her media company, Kejic Productions. A Cree-Ojibwe multi award-winning documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur, Erica’s journey has been one fueled by passion, storytelling, and a commitment to working with Indigenous youth. Her dedication to showcasing Indigenous stories from a truthful and authentic perspective has not only earned her numerous accolades but has also paved the way for Indigenous voices to be heard and recognized on a national level.
Erica’s love for storytelling began at the age of 15 when she participated in the program “Just TV,” designed for at-risk youth in Winnipeg’s inner city. It was there that she learned the art of multimedia, video production, and editing, igniting her passion for being a storyteller. As her skills grew, she eagerly embraced every opportunity that came her way, documenting community events and programming, particularly focusing on Indigenous content and storytelling.
The path that led to the birth of Kejic Productions was one of self-discovery and perseverance. Initially, Erica saw her work as a freelance filmmaker, driven solely by her love for storytelling and her desire to share Indigenous narratives with the world. Little did she know that her passion would pave the way for a thriving media company.
After the birth of her daughter, Erica faced a critical decision point in her life. She had to choose between the stability of a full-time job at CBC and fully committing to her passion for storytelling through Kejic Productions. Despite the risks involved, Erica took a leap of faith, deciding to venture into entrepreneurship. It was a significant turning point that transformed her love for storytelling into a thriving business.
The early stages of Kejic Productions were not without challenges. Like many entrepreneurs, Erica had to overcome a steep learning curve in managing a business. She realized that she couldn’t wear all the hats and learned to build a team to support her vision. Through dedication, hard work, and the support of her family, friends, and mentors, Erica navigated these obstacles and turned Kejic Productions into a growing and successful venture.
One of the key themes that Erica advocates is the importance of hiring Indigenous companies and promoting Indigenous leadership when working with Indigenous clients or communities. She firmly believes that Indigenous people possess a unique understanding of their stories and experiences, making them the most qualified to lead in the storytelling process. By elevating Indigenous voices to leadership positions, these stories can be portrayed authentically and truthfully, free from misinterpretation or misrepresentation.
In the business world, Erica observes that there is still room for growth in supporting and hiring Indigenous businesses. She encourages organizations to actively seek out Indigenous companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate with. By doing so, they can foster an environment of diversity and inclusion, while also helping Indigenous businesses grow and thrive.
Within the film industry, Erica’s advocacy for Indigenous leadership is equally strong. By giving Indigenous filmmakers and storytellers the space to take the helm, their narratives can be told with the depth and understanding they deserve. This shift in the industry is crucial to break away from the historical misrepresentation of Indigenous communities and to allow for a more authentic portrayal of their culture, history, and way of life.
As Erica’s journey continues, she remains committed to investing in Indigenous youth and nurturing the next generation of storytellers. Through her dedication and passion, she sets an example for aspiring entrepreneurs and filmmakers alike, demonstrating that with determination, support, and the belief in oneself, it is possible to turn one’s passion into a successful and impactful venture.
In conclusion, Erica Daniels’ entrepreneurial journey with Kejic Productions stands as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring Indigenous entrepreneurs and storytellers. Her commitment to empowering Indigenous voices, preserving cultural narratives, and nurturing youth serves as a reminder of the transformative power of storytelling and the positive impact it can have on communities and society as a whole. As more individuals and businesses embrace the importance of Indigenous leadership and storytelling sovereignty, we move one step closer to a more inclusive and enriched world.
Listen now to Erica’s advice and journey on the Pow Wow Pitch Podcast at powwowpitch.org/podcast.