MADE Teams up with Digital Creators to Celebrate Canadian Creativity

Imagine what happens when three up-and-coming Canadian social media stars make it their mission to celebrate Canadian entertainment.

That’s the idea behind the Canada Media Fund’s new MADE | NOUS campaign debuting this month, which aims to attract a younger generation of Canadians who don’t necessarily consume Canadian content via traditional media.

Meet Liz Duff, Haley Robinson and Andrian Maknachov, the three English-speaking digital creators chosen after a Canada-wide search to act as digital ambassadors to promote, share, and recommend a wide array of Canadian films, TV shows, video games, and digital entertainment.

The trio were introduced at the recent Digital First Canada Summit 2023 in Toronto. They talked about what they each bring to the table and what types of Canadian entertainment they are most excited to share with their followers.

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Liz Duff - photo credit: Jocelyn Michel

“I’m a pop culture and awards season analyst,” says Halifax-based ambassador Liz Duff. “So, one of the things that’s really exciting about this campaign is talking about what’s happening at film festivals, what films people are excited about, what’s making noise. MADE is really on the pulse of what is up and coming, and being able to be a part of those stories and moments and share them with my community is exciting.”

For the Ottawa-based, two-spirit Haley Robinson, the chance to highlight the diversity in Canadian content is what drew them to the campaign, especially when it comes to spotlighting Indigenous talent.

Hailey Robinson - Photo credit: Jocelyn Michel

“I do have a different view of Canada as an Indigenous person and as a Filippinx second generation and adopted person” they explain. “During my reconnecting journey, I was able to meet so many amazing Indigenous influencers that are so smart and creative and not a lot of people know about them, and people need to see them. There is no way but up for Indigenous creators, and we are only just starting that journey of representation. I am so excited to share that representation and spotlight all these people that I know and have come to love.”

The path to becoming a digital ambassador was born out of strife for the Ukraine-born Andrian Makhnachov.

Andrian Makhnachov - Photo credit: Jocelyn Michel

“It’s been over a year since I moved to Canada because of the war in Ukraine and became a content creator and influencer,” he says. “It all happened by accident. I came to Saskatchewan, and I posted my first video about traditional Canadian foods, the Nanaimo Bar, and it gained a million views and started my story about becoming a real Canadian, starting with food and culture.”

All three ambassadors acknowledge that there’s so much amazing Canadian entertainment that is just not reaching younger Canadians.

“There is a big gap between generations,” says Makhnachov. “Younger generations prefer smartphones, social media, streaming services, while older generations prefer watching the way they did growing up. For example, I don’t watch TV at all now, but my father does, and I tried to teach him how to use a smartphone, but it was hard for him.”

Their job is to find and recommend content, and as Robinson explains, that is crucial in the social media landscape when there are millions of images, videos and stories popping up daily across a multitude of platforms.

“It is hard to find new content online because the recommendations they give you are based on what you like. ‘Oh, you like that, you’re obviously gonna like this!’ So, I try to get my recommendations from as many people as I can, because I like to keep an open mind and learn about a bunch of new things.”

And social media has no borders, so celebrating our Canadian entertainment industry means everyone from around the world can also join in that celebration. Just ask Liz Duff.

“One thing that happened to me this year that really showed me how Canadian storytelling matters around the world is Sarah Polley won an Oscar this year. That was one of the coolest stories of award season, and I am on TikTok Live, and I am bawling my eyes out during her speech, saying she is Canadian, and my followers, from everywhere – Europe, America – are saying, ‘Oh, wow, this is really cool!’

“So, this new MADE | NOUS campaign is a very cool connection point, it is not just Canadians caring about Canadians, but showing the whole world why our stories are worth sharing and talking about.”

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Ingrid Randoja
Freelance writer Ingrid Randoja is the former film editor of Toronto’s NOW Magazine, the former deputy editor of Cineplex Magazine, and a founding member of the Toronto Film Critics Association.
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