Cowboy Smithx

By Mandy Balak // Wednesday 9th of August, 2017 // 8:15 AM

Cowboy Smithx is a local filmmaker who has made a name for himself as the founder of Red Talks; a series of talks about Indigenous culture.

Red Talks is everything Smithx deals with: storytelling, filmmaking, community, discourse – and activism in a certain way. It is the reactivation of the traditional way of being. What started as a small project with big dreams back in 2008 as blossomed into a cultural movement. When Smithx was in Vancouver he noticed that young people had been disconnected from the community and culture, he identified the need and created a program for youth and people in East Van.

The first Red Talks was in October 2015 in Calgary and the movement has grown from there. What makes them different from Ted Talks or other speaking series, is they bring the land into the conversation by way of the Indigenous people; “They are the land.” It’s more than art, “it’s community building and helping everyone understand our collective stance, not just Albertans but across North America.” The key is to have everyone at the table to work together to evolve our society and collectively build for our future generations. “We have to evolve, we have to adapt and we have to move forward; we have to take ownership of the difficulties of our past and own them. That’s what makes us a stronger society.”

The red image of Red Talks is the talking point for the revamped system of the future. It’s not talking about the skin colour, it’s about the colour of our blood – we all bleed red. “There are enough natural forces working against us as human beings that we don’t need to work against each other.”

If you are attending the Grandstand show at the Stampede this year you will see Smithx’s latest video. “One of the key messages I’m bringing to the Stampede is that we all have a responsibility to respond to our treaty. The intention behind the treaty was to work together and build a new society and share strengths and gifts and knowledge with each other. We now have the opportunity to make that a reality.”

Cowboy Smithx has a bright future ahead of him, with major projects in the works. He is working on a completely new philosophy around story structure; how we tell stories and how we translate and digest stories. “I want to break down dichotomies in story and create a new genre of film.” Smithx has other noteworthy documentaries including Elder in the Maker and Cree Code Talker.



Written by: Rachel Antony

I’m a native Calgarian with a passionate obsession with our city. I spend my time finding the best tacos, donuts and lattes YYC has to offer. My love of food holds hands with my love for all things fitness; spin, lifting, boxing, hot yoga, snowboarding, hiking – I love it all. When I’m not doing it for the ‘gram or creating content for my blog, I’m working as an account manager for marketing firm, the content manager for DateNight, and freelance writing.