Proposal to University Health Network

Donna Kakonge Writes About the Plans She Has For an Upcoming Documentary - Photo Courtesy of
Donna Kakonge Writes About the Plans She Has For an Upcoming Documentary – Photo Courtesy of

Proposal - October 24, 2009

First of all, I would like to thank the selection committee for taking the time to review my application. I would also like to thank those people who made the UHN documentary at the Toronto General Hospital Psychiatric ward possible.

I am interested in this documentary because making documentaries is something that I wanted to do when I came out of journalism school at Carleton University. In my final year there, I did a documentary with a school colleague named Jesmond Parke called My Name is… that was about Somali youth in the school system. It received a honourable mention from TVO. It is also now in the Ottawa Public Library. Due to the fact that making documentaries is not always the most lucrative career choice…I have worked mainly in journalism, producing many radio documentaries for the CBC – I have a CD of them called “Nine.” The main focus of my current career rests in teaching at various schools, including Seneca@York where I teach media writing classes and documentaries is a part of the curriculum. As well, Seneca@York in particular, as well as Centennial College and Trebas Institute where I teach the broadcasting industry and online marketing I teach at are moving to more online forms of teaching journalism and I know the experience I would receive from the UHN documentary would help me to be on the cutting edge of that.

Looking at innovative and interactive forms of documentary making would help me to become a more valuable asset for my teaching profession. I would also like to learn the tools for the professional level of the small business I run called Donna Kay Kakonge, M.A. where I would greatly enjoy producing and writing interactive documentaries to add to my skills of freelance magazine writing and book publishing. Mikel Guillen who owns PickPocket Media heads the production team I am planning to work with. Guillen has recently done a documentary called The Music Within in English, or La Musique Interne in French that is featured in the sample I have sent to Maluah Dewhurst.  I did the sound recording for that documentary. Below are examples of my radio work and I could provide VHS tapes for viewing during an interview that would need to be returned. Here is the link to my radio work:

Project in the Works

The documentary is tentatively called “Women at Unusual Work.” This documentary would explore women who do unusual jobs and just happen to either work or be on a psych ward. The documentary would be on a website platform, similar to YouTube with the beginning part following the lives of three women with unusual jobs. To see the ending of the stories for each woman, there will be three choices – just as in the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books that I would read when I was young. The interactive part is that the viewer can watch three different endings of the same documentary on a web platform. This still allows the potential for the documentary to be shown at festivals, etc. Research is predicting that the future of documentaries is on the web. The NFB and Docspace are both places where you can find documentaries on the web.


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