The Whistler Film Festival  (December 4th to 8th) will present its inaugural Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship , a two-day creative and business intensive designed to advance emerging Aboriginal writers and directors from British Columbia, as part of this year’s industry programming.
“The Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship program is particularly apropos in a year that we will be screening a strong number of First Nations-themed feature films,” says WFF’s Director of Programming, Paul Gratton. “From Fellowships to programming, we are excited to have First Nations storytelling at the heart of this year’s festival.”
The four Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship finalists include:
- Elle – Maijia Tailfeather, with a powerful short documentary project, DAD
- Jay Cardinal Villeneuve with a stirring short drama, MÎKIWÂM
- Roseanne Supernault with a heartbreaking short drama, HOPE
- Sarah Hager with a thought-provoking short sci-fi, DISORDER
- actor and director Lorne Cardinal
- producer Cynde Harmon
- actress, writer and singer Andrea Menard
- director and actress Marie Clements
Facilitators for the program include:
- Canadian producer Elizabeth Yake
- Sundance’s Director, Native American and Indigenous Program, N. Bird Runningwater
Other industry experts participating in the program include:
- President and CEO of the Canadian Media Fund, Valerie Creighton
- Chair of imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Marcia Nickerson
Taking place December 6th and 7th, the program offers the four finalists an opportunity to gain valuable feedback and support from established members of the Canadian film community. Day 1 of the Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship focuses on short film script development with mentors offering constructive feedback and professional advice to help the finalists take their projects to the next level. On day 2, the finalists will participate in the WFF’s industry Summit ShortWork Lab where they’ll gain firsthand insight into the world of narrative short-form storytelling through a full day of panel discussions, pitches, networking and screenings with filmmakers and industry experts.
“I applaud Whistler Film Festival for providing an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal filmmakers to enhance their skill set. Not only does it make for a welcoming and inclusive environment for filmmakers to learn and succeed with their projects but their stories can bolster Canadian identity which in turn strengthens the fabric of our beautiful country,” says actor and director Lorne Cardinal, one of the Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship mentors.
WFF’s Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship is sponsored by Emily Carr University of Art & Design and supported by the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. WFF’s ShortWork Lab is sponsored by The Harold Greenburg Fund and Creative BC.