Beatrice Jackson, a creative force aspiring to drive positive change through their work. As someone who has navigated their own journey of self-discovery, they emphasize the importance of finding comfort within yourself rather than seeking validation from others, and embracing uniqueness while being unapologetically authentic.
For Beatrice, collaboration and storytelling partnerships have unlocked the potential for shared growth and the opportunity to amplify unrepresented stories. Beatrice shares their journey from scriptwriting and directing to finding their passion for storytelling through documentary and experimental films.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started?
I started off as more of a writer. I was interested in script writing and got introduced to it when Winnipeg Film Group reached out to me through my school for help on a documentary, The 2020 Climate Strike. I got to work with Lena and Sunny, really two amazing advocates for climate change and sustainability who hosted the whole event, which was amazing. I was able to be there firsthand, and not only learn about what was going on, but also about the different creative people that were in Winnipeg. I didn’t know much about the film industry in Winnipeg until I joined up with Winnipeg Film Group. I met so many amazing people in the industry – I still work with them. It really helped me develop a style and what I wanted to get into, which is not only just script writing and directing, but also telling stories through documentary and experimental film.
I also love working with corporate video, and being able to tell stories and really uplift smaller businesses. That was sort of an interest of mine, working with businesses – especially queer BIPOC women – people who are underappreciated in a lot of different parts of the professional industry and should be very much uplifted. That was something that I really found a passion for, working with people who are sort of like me, because I’m queer and I’m also Indigenous. Even though I have that privilege where I’m white passing, I really want to help uplift all sorts of Indigenous people with their creative projects.
What’s been one highlight of your career thus far?
It’s the people that I’ve been able to meet through just a small project that started in high school, something that I thought was gonna stay a side thing. I ended up really getting connected with musicians, artists and writers and the advocacy side of things. I did a documentary on one of the first female firefighters in Winnipeg, who was actually a classmate’s mother. I got to hear about that story because I happened to be in the same class as someone. I think that’s really amazing.
And with my latest film, Night Shifts, a lot of the things that I did in it I wouldn’t have been able to do years ago because I’ve now met so many people who have all sorts of talents. Like, I had two actors who were really getting into the acting industry, and were really passionate about acting. They were both queer and they were friends of mine – they were so excited about my project. Three years ago, I’d never have known them, so it was amazing that I got to meet them and be able to make such an amazing project with my classmates’ and former mentor’s help on set.
What is your favourite thing to do on a day off?
I’ve become quite a big reader lately, I also still love writing, I write a lot of poetry, I journal and I read articles online. I feel like lately, I’m just so much of a reader and a writer.
Because the more you read, the more you want to write.
Before, I started going through a bit of writer’s block, because I wasn’t reading at all – I was just so busy with school and getting through it. And then, once I was able to get to this period of calm, I got into reading. I’ve been reading The Locked Tomb series, which is a great queer sci-fi. It’s a very crazy series. It’s really good though.
Can you talk about the importance of representation in film, particularly in relation to the 2SLGBTQ+ community?
I think it’s important for everyone to see themselves represented on screen because that’s what gets people interested in things. Like, in the early 2000s, it was pretty rare to see queer actors and people who spoke about social justice issues in media. But I feel like Gen Z seems to be so outspoken and very much about advocacy and really pushing further towards diversity because they want to see themselves on screen. Indigenous people want to see themselves on screen, queer kids want to see themselves on screen, because it really makes a difference.
It’s not just for the sake of someone being able to see themselves and be like, “Oh, look, that’s me.” But instead, it shows positive representation of someone instead of just negative stigmas.
It’s important to see people in a better light. Media is so interesting nowadays because there are so many new voices out there. Like A24, for example, is my favourite studio and they tell amazing unrepresented stories in such a brilliant way. I really admire them for doing that.
What advice would you give to other queer creators who are just starting their careers and looking to make a positive impact through their work?
I think it’s good to not just stick to the film industry and making friends with those within that one industry, but instead, look at creatives as a whole and get connected – really reach out to people. Because there are so many under-appreciated artists, especially around the city that you might not know, actors, filmmakers, writers, artists and musicians. And from then on, it sort of grows, there’s like this whole spiderweb of people that you get connected with.
There are so many people who I’ve talked to, who have really helped inspire my projects, and their stories are unrepresented – and they don’t know how to tell it. It’s such a great opportunity to be like, “Hey, we can collaborate on that.” And maybe we both don’t know what we’re doing, but we can both use each other’s skills to elevate the stories we want to tell.
For readers who may be struggling with their sexuality or gender identity, is there any advice you might give?
It took me quite a while to figure out who I am, because there are so many labels, which is great – labels bring a lot of comfort for people. It helped bring me comfort. But, I felt like genderqueer, which is more of an umbrella term for being fluid with gender and gender expression, is very different compared to everyone else, because every person has a different way of expressing themselves. And even if you don’t know what your gender is exactly, just be outspoken about your pronouns and make sure to really explore the pronouns that are out there.
I know that sometimes there’s people who don’t understand me, and maybe you don’t understand yourself, but it kind of gives you comfort. It’s better to be comfortable in your own skin than trying to make other people feel comfortable about who you are.
It’s not going to help when your whole entire identity is revolving around the comfort of other people. It’s going to really hurt you.
Instead, it’s good to let yourself be, not to be cliche, but be who you are. I don’t feel like I’m a woman or a man or I don’t even know if I’m in between, I’m just sort of my own person. I feel like everyone has that. Everyone has that thought. And I really dislike when people say, “Oh, now everyone these days is trying to change their gender.” No. People are just learning more about themselves and are having more of an opportunity to comfortably express themselves and be who they are, to make their own decisions on their identity.
One more question. What’s one song that will always get you on the dance floor?
I have so many. I feel like it’s a lot of Taylor Swift songs. I’ve become so much of a Swiftie lately. Me and my sister both. So as soon as any Taylor Swift song comes on, especially the oldies.
Follow Beatrice on Instagram or view more information about their work at their website.