Asia Youngman is an award-winning film Director in Vancouver, BC. Asia received a YVR Art Foundation Emerging Artist (previously called youth) Scholarship in 2017 and has premiered her films at film festivals across Canada and the US including the Toronto International Film Festival and the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto.
Asia created her first short film Lelum’ in fulfillment of her Emerging Artist Scholarship while attending the Vancouver Film School. Lelum’ proceeded to win Best Documentary Short at imagineNATIVE in 2017. Her most recent film, This Ink Runs Deep, won Best Documentary Short at the 2019 Calgary International Film Festival, and had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Asia has attended Vancouver Film School’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects Program, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria and is an alumnus of the Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women.
What inspired you to pursue filmmaking following your Bachelor of Arts degree?
Throughout my degree, I took courses in Psychology and Sociology and following graduation, I worked for the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) in Indigenous Health as a Project Coordinator. In this role, I helped develop the online Indigenous youth wellness program Cuystwi. It was with the support of team lead Nancy Laliberte, that I began to familiarize myself with film and editing techniques to support the content/videos we were making for Cuystwi.
This eventually became my primary responsibility and our team began to facilitate filmmaking workshops across British Columbia for Indigenous youth to make their own videos in their communities.
How did you use your YVRAF Emerging Artist Scholarship? Tell us about the film work you created and how working with film as a medium helped to deliver your message.
Receiving the YVRAF Emerging Artist Scholarship encouraged me to create Lelum’ and pursue filmmaking as a career. I was studying at the Vancouver Film School in their 3D Animation and Visual Effects program and was planning to work in Visual Effects after graduation. Without the award, I’m not sure that I would have discovered my passion for storytelling at that point in my life. Lelum’, which translates to Home in Hul’qumi’num, showcased the beauty of British Columbia from the perspective of Indigenous youth and highlighted the importance of protecting our land and our home.
Lelum’ was created primarily using aerial cinematography that explored the different landscapes of British Columbia with portraits of Indigenous youth composited over the landscape. Visuals are so important to convey the message that you want to share and can deliver a powerful message through presentation. Lelum’ went on to premiere at the largest Indigenous film festival in the world, imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, and won Best Documentary Short in 2017, which really launched my career as a filmmaker. That wouldn’t have happened without the support of YVR Art Foundation.
Click here to view the trailer for Lelum’
Do you have any recent projects you would like to share?
My most recent documentary This Ink Runs Deep premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and is currently wrapping up its festival circuit. The film explores the art form of tattooing and its significance to Indigenous communities. Audiences get to see the process of both traditional and contemporary tattoo methods and hear the intimate stories from artists who are working to revitalize these practices. You can stream This Ink Runs Deep on CBC Gem.
As of right now, I’m in pre-production for my first short narrative Hatha, which was funded by Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund and Creative BC. I'm also in early development on a feature-length documentary, Game 7, and I'm currently writing my first feature narrative. In addition, I'm writing and directing on a kid's television show with TVO called Raven’s Quest.