imagineNATIVE and DGC Lab for Indigenous Film Directors from Canada

Deadline for applications: August 29, 2017

Applicants notified: September 8, 2017

imagineNATIVE with support of the DGC Ontario announces the 2017 imagineNATIVE Lab for Indigenous Film Directors from Canada co-presented by DGC Ontario.

The imagineNATIVE Lab for Indigenous Film Directors from Canada is designed to hone the skills and knowledge base of emerging Indigenous directors from Canada through dedicated one-on-one engagement with an established Indigenous creative industry leader.

imagineNATIVE has selected DGC Ontario Director Member and Aboriginal filmmaker Tracey Deer as the lead mentor for the 2017 Lab.


Award-winning Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer has multiple credits to her name as producer, writer and director in both documentary and fiction. Beginning her career in documentary, Tracey teamed up with Rezolution Pictures for feature documentaries: One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree, Mohawk Girls, and Club Native, as well as the documentary series Working it Out Together, seasons I & II. This collaboration has continued into fiction television with Mohawk Girls, the series, of which she is the co-creator, director and co-executive producer.

Her work has been honored with two Gemini awards and has earned acclaim from multiple film festivals, including Hot Docs and DOXA. She has worked with the CBC, the NFB, and numerous independent production companies throughout Canada in both documentary & fiction.

Through a public application process, imagineNATIVE will invite four emerging Indigenous directors from Canada – with minimal credits on professionally presented short or feature film work – to participate in a three-day “lab” with Deer. The lab itself will be grounded in Indigenous traditional concepts of respect, sharing and knowledge acquiring which make this a unique professional development opportunity.

“DGC Ontario’s partnership with ImagineNative allows us to celebrate an outstanding Canadian program and expand our presence,” stated Bill Skolnik, DGC Ontario CEO & Executive Director. “ImagineNative generates attention and provides emerging indigenous filmmakers with opportunities both creative and business. We are delighted to work with ImagineNative.”

Daniel Northway-Frank, imagineNATIVE’s Industry Director, adds, “Tracey Deer's creative career has grown alongside imagineNATIVE’s maturation in providing unique opportunities for Indigenous creatives. This director-focused lab completes a trifecta of professional development opportunities which include our producer and screenwriter focused intensives. We hope this lab will spur the charge of our selected participants success in the directorial fields within Canada’s media arts sector.”

Speaking about his experience at the 2016 imagineNATIVE and DGC Lab for Indigenous Film Directors, filmmaker Kelton Stepanowich said "Coming to imagineNATIVE and being part of the Directors lab put me in touch with so many key creatives in the industry that It has opened doors, one of which is co-creating & directing a web series with APTN, which should come out in fall of 2017. Overall, the ImagineNATIVE Directors lab is a one of a kind experience that is truly key to the development of Indigenous directors."

The imagineNATIVE Lab for Indigenous Film Directors from Canada is now accepting applications, see information below. Deadline for submission is August 29, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their results by September 8, 2017.


Lab Details + Call for Applications

Through a series of daily, private, intensive sessions running October 20-22, 2016, Deer will discuss her own projects and experiences, share best practices of creative and business production, and equip participants with producing savvy needed to develop their projects. The lab will also enhance the program with rare access to industry leaders including the DGC Ontario and attending programmed key Indigenous creatives at the 2016 Festival to engage in-conversation with the group.


Applicants must be Indigenous Canadian (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) or international Indigenous with Canadian citizenship and be a resident in Canada. Travel and accommodation are not provided; this lab takes place during the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto from October 20 to 22, 2016 and all successful applicants must be available for this period.

Applicants must submit the following via email to

  • Name
  • Location (Country, Province, City)
  • Indigenous Affiliation
  • CV and filmography including awards and festivals listing
  • 1 page (max) letter of intent detailing your interest in the lab and how you hope the lab will improve your skills.
  • Online links to two (2) prior works in a directorial role
  • Indicate three areas of the field you would like to understand or develop more or be introduced to during the lab


Deadline for submission is August 29, 2017. Applicants will be notified of their results by September 8, 2017. For further information, please email


About DGC Ontario

The Directors Guild of Canada Ontario (DGC Ontario) is a provincial labour organization representing more than 1,900 key creative and logistical personnel working in the screen-based industries in the areas of direction, design, production, locations, accounting and editing. DGC Ontario secures work opportunities for its Members, represents their interests through the negotiation and administration of collective agreements, and engages in extensive industry advocacy and lobbying activities at the provincial and municipal levels.


About imagineNATIVE

imagineNATIVE is the world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organization is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts. imagineNATIVE (legal entity: The Centre for Aboriginal Media) is a registered charity committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art (film, video, audio and digital media).