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What does it mean to belong? Women, non-binary and genderqueer creators share their stories in Otherly, launching March 15 on Instagram Stories.


The first partnership between the National Film Board of Canada and POV Spark

March 4, 2021 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada

Premiering March 15 on Instagram Stories, Otherly is a series of seven creative documentaries about finding one’s place in the 21st century. Using universal themes like love, inclusion and loss as entry points, the seven creators have crafted works that are at once timeless and yet by definition of their form, ephemeral.

The first-ever collaboration between the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and POV SparkOtherly amplifies perspectives from a group of underexposed creators, namely women, non-binary and genderqueer identifying folx. It’s especially poignant during this time of enforced social distancing that the films are presented on this platform, one of the few spaces in which we’re able to stay connected.

“The NFB continues to explore creative non-fiction storytelling and to amplify new, diverse voices on new platforms,” said NFB executive producer Anita Lee. “We are thrilled to have worked with our likeminded partner POV Spark to create these thoughtful, original works that redefine and play with form, and reach audiences on Instagram Stories.”

“We’re excited to bring these deeply personal stories of belonging and identity to the Instagram platform, challenging the confines of where and how films can be distributed and interacted with,” said POV Spark executive producer Opeyemi Olukemi. “The entire process of producing Otherly has been a stimulating exercise in striking a balance for meaningful content in the ephemeral age of social media. As we release them to the public, we’re looking forward to the different ways audiences will respond.”

Otherly features the following creators and stories:

  • A generation of Tamil youth find freedom and community in Parked: Seeking Refuge in Our Cars by Toronto writer and researcher Mirusha Yogarajah. (5 min 52 s, Canada) Premieres March 15, 202111 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.


  • An artist and filmmaker from North Carolina, Shanghai and Hong Kong whose work explores the intersections of race, sexuality and modern media, Em Yue looks at coming out and the unconditional love between siblings in Elaine Is Almost. (13 min 3 s, US) Premieres March 17, 2021 – 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.


  • Love Is the First Sacred Lesson is a first-person documentary that follows Montreal artist Jess Murwin’s journey to connect and reconcile the different parts of their identity: queer, trans, Mi’kmaw. (6 min 50 s, Canada) Premieres March 19, 202111 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.


  • NYC-based Tristan Angieri’sMe explores the use of an experimental therapy to treat Tristan’s PTSD, as they learn to navigate being queer and trans. (9 min 31 s, US) Premieres March 22, 202111 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.


  • In Toronto-based character-maker and multidisciplinary artist Grace An’s Papier Accordéon, two friends in different cities spend their time together from a distance. (7 min 10 s, Canada) Screening in segments throughout the day of March 24; start time TBC.


  • In A Portrait of Tracy, Hong Kong-born, Vancouver creator and producer Joanne Lam explores the echoes of childhood memory from an immigrant’s perspective: what is lost to time and distance, and what remains. (5 min 50 s, Canada) Premieres March 26, 202111 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.


  • FaceTime by Emmy-nominated Los Angeles-based director and sound designer Jackie! Zhou follows Andy and Farrah Su as they navigate their individual identities, chosen family and relationship as bi-coastal siblings. (US) A five-part series of 6-to-10-minute episodes premiering daily from March 29 to April 2, 202111 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST.

Using techniques ranging from experimental to live action to animation, these films have been produced specifically for Instagram Stories. The transient quality of Stories is a direct juxtaposition to the lasting impression these stories will leave, a fact not lost on the filmmakers as they create the perfect blend of the medium and its message.

Otherly is the result of a call for submissions in the spring of 2019 for proposals for boundary-pushing Instagram Stories on the theme of “belonging” by visionary women, non-binary and genderqueer storytellers from Canada and the United States. A total of 169 submissions were received.

Otherly is a co-production of the NFB and POV Spark. The NFB’s production team includes Kate Vollum (associate producer), David Oppenheim (producer) and Anita Lee (executive producer). The POV Spark production team features Aja Evans (associate producer), Akmyrat Tuyliyev (producer) and Opeyemi Olukemi (executive producer).

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Related Products

Otherly Instagram – instagram.com/otherlyseries

Otherly Electronic Press Kit
Otherly website

French version here | Version française ici.

Media Relations

  • About the NFB

    The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is one of the world’s leading digital content hubs, creating groundbreaking interactive documentaries and animation, mobile content, installations and participatory experiences. NFB interactive productions and digital platforms have won over 100 awards, including 21 Webbys. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.

  • About POV Spark

    The interactive arm of the iconic PBS series, POV Spark creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling, programming, and distribution, redefining US public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers. POV films and projects have won 42 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. POV is a production of American Documentary (AmDoc), a national non-profit media arts organization that strives to make essential documentaries accessible as a catalyst for public discourse. AmDoc collaborates with passionate filmmakers to amplify their voices, and to nurture the nonfiction community. Learn more at pbs.org/pov, access POV Spark projects, and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.