imagineNATIVE 2017 Award Winners


The 2017 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival Award Winners are:

The Ellen Monague Award for Best Youth Work

RAE Directed by Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
$500 cash award presented by imagineNATIVE

"Nuanced, thoughtful, and warm, the Jury found this film to be a technically strong and beautifully balanced telling of a complex relationship between mother and daughter. Stand out performances by both, and a special nod to Brenda Bicardi who stole our hearts."
– Sun Jury


Best Audio Work

Elcrys by Michael Wilson
$500 cash award presented imagineNATIVE

"A creatively ambitious reminder, utilizing sound to its full capacity for storytelling, the Jury found this work to be hypnotic, original, and timely." 
– Sun Jury


Best Dramatic Feature

Sweet Country Directed by Warwick Thornton
$2,000 cash award presented by

"For its steady rhythm and cinematic delivery, it was in the moments we saw its strength and beauty as a portrayal of the Indigenous experience across histories and landscapes." – Sun Jury


Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Talent

Morit Elena Morit Directed by Inga-Wiktoria Påve & Anders Sunna
$2,000 cash award presented by The CJ Foundation

"The Jury was impressed by the aesthetic flare and courage of these emerging creators. They tackled challenging subject matter with originality, resulting in a poignant, haunting, textural feast." – Sun Jury


Cynthia Lickers-Sage Award for Short Work

I Will Always Love You Kingen Directed by Amanda Kernell
$1000 cash award presented by V-Tape

"A brilliant film from start to finish, the Jury was blown away by its richness and vulnerability. This work was simultaneously universal yet intimate. Masterful storytelling." – Sun Jury


The Alanis Obomsawin Award for Best Documentary Work (Long-Form)

Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier Directed by Shane Belcourt & Lisa Jackson
$2,000 cash award presented by TVO

"A reflective structure that reclaims the means of documentary making through a compelling and truthful story. It presents the complexity of the character and focuses on her humanness – all the while challenging and defying stereotypes of Indigenous women in the justice system. This work highlights the intimacy of the genre of documentary filmmaking. It is an engrossing and riveting story that stays with you for days." – Moon Jury


Best Documentary Short

Lelum’ Directed Asia Youngman
$1,000 cash award by CBC Docs

"Ambitious and visually-arresting, this film explores the intrinsic relationship between identity and land as told from the perspective of Indigenous youth. It reminds us that by respecting, loving and caring for the land, we also respect, love and care for ourselves." – Moon Jury


The Kent Monkman Award for Best Experimental Work

Three Thousand by Asinnajaq
$1,000 cash award presented by imagineNATIVE & Kent Monkman

"Weaving together past and present while innovatively imagining the future, this film is cerebral and celestial and breathes with so much life. Truly a beautiful tribute to the resiliency of Inuit by one of the most promising emerging filmmakers." – Moon Jury


Best Digital Media Work

Thunderbird Strike by Elizabeth LaPensée
$500 cash award presented imagineNATIVE

"Harnessing the power of ancestral deities is vital to stopping resource extraction on Indigenous land. To save the Great Lakes from poisoning means ending the tar sands, oil companies, and burial of nuclear waste. Thunderbirds are the power need to fight these corporations. This digital media 2D scroller video game is a triumph for Anishinabe culture and the powers of the thunderbirds."  – Moon Jury


Best Indigenous Language Work

Bowhead Whale Hunting With My Ancestors Directed by Carol Kunnuk and Zacharias Kunuk
$1,000 cash award presented by Indigenous Media Initiatives

"Indigenous language is integral to a nation’s sovereignty. For many Indigenous communities nationhood includes the making, sharing and hunting of food. This film highlighted the importance of food security for many nations across Canada and residents of Igloolik showed communities how to do it! This film is a triumph for Inuit life and culture!" – Moon Jury


The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence

Tina Keeper
$1,500 cash award presented by ACTRA National, ACTRA Performers' Rights Society, and generous individual donations


Special Jury Prize – Sun Jury

Sunday Fun Day Directed by Dianna Fuemana

"We want to give a special acknowledgement to a film we found to be original, complex and surprising. We were impressed by the filmmaker's capacity to offer a heartfelt lens to an important subject."  – Sun Jury


Special Jury Prize - Moon Jury

Birth of a Family Directed by Tasha Hubbard 

"Connection to one's family, community and culture is an inherent right. Denied to four siblings because of systemic injustice, this film celebrates their union, proving that years and miles cannot squash the love we have for our kin. A touching, relevant and deeply relatable film." – Moon Jury


The Web Series Live Pitch Competition

Spectrum by Darcy Waite and Madison Thomas
$30,000 in cash and in kind prizes presented by APTN

"This year, the jury was impressed with the quality of pitches in this new program. We congratulate all the teams who brought their pitch
prowess to the event and entertained both us and the audience.

This year's winning Web Series Pitch was a clear idea with an authentic perspective that was thoroughly developed; and we can wait
to see the project come to life. The winner of the 2017 APTN/imagineNATIVE Web Series Live Pitch Competition winners are Darcy

Waite + Madison Thomas for their project Spectrum." – Jury


The Audience Choice Award

Kayak to Klemtu by Zoe Hopkins
$1,000 cash award presented by Air Canada