Happy to Work Hard on Job Creation

photo of Nate Bower

Interview with Nate Bower


People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. — Studs Terkel

Engaging stories about our lifestyles and history told by a talented group of sixteen Brandon filmmakers has been ongoing for several years.

Their original, short- and long form docs are funded by Bell MTS  and featured on Stories From Home.

Filmmaking is a side hustle for all but Nate Bower who works full-time as a filmmaker:

Quotation mark left Before becoming a filmmaker I was a competitive figure skater, and then skated with Disney on Ice.

Through that experience I became interested in performance, film, and video and decided to go into filmmaking.

So I left Disney on Ice in 1996 for university. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production, I had a good possibility of getting a job in Toronto with a filmmaker, so I took a risk and moved there.

The job didn’t work out but I loved Toronto, so my wife, Leann, and I decided to stay on.

But the timing wasn’t right, it was difficult to get established, we had a baby, and after about a year we thought it would be better for our family to move back home to Brandon.

I worked for local media companies doing commercials and promotions, and coached figure skating.

Then MTS expanded their Stories From Home service into the Brandon market and began working with local filmmakers to produce original, made-in-Manitoba programming.

So, in 2012 — sixteen years after I started in filmmaking — I decided it was time to start working as a full-time filmmaker.

With MTS as the catalyst, I started my own production company, Collective Mind Entertainment.

It was terrifying to leave a job with a steady paycheque. I had enough money to last for five months.

I really wanted this to work — I didn’t want to go back to a job that wasn’t a passion.

Fortunately, I haven’t yet had an extended period of time when I didn’t know what I’d be doing next.

I’ve made at least one Stories from Home film a year, and have been hired as a technical advisor by other filmmakers.

I do freelance corporate work, and have clients outside Manitoba, so I get to do some travelling.

I film conferences and produce training videos for a client in Vancouver that involves working in places like Toronto, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Being the only full-time filmmaker in Brandon can be an advantage. When the Canadian National Mixed Curling Championship was held in Swan River, last November, the CBC hired Westman Communications to produce it and hired me to be part of the production crew.

There aren’t many people who can take time off for a week unless they are working at this full-time.

For several months I’ve been working on a full-length feature film project with two Los Angeles-based producers.

It’s an action adventure movie that’s a cross between the Hunger Games and Indiana Jones.

We’re looking at filming this year, mostly in Brandon, with a day or two in Winnipeg and Minot. Most of the cast and crew will be from our area.

It’s a far larger project than my production company has taken on. But, it’s basically the same process as my other filmmaking projects, there’s just a lot more logistics and planning.

It’s an exciting project for me — I’m that go-to guy who doesn’t crack under pressure, I always stay focused on solutions instead of problems.Quotation mark right

by Brandon Now

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