imagineNATIVE/CMPA Indigenous Film Producers from Canada Lab

imagineNATIVE producer-focused professional development lab for emerging and mid-career Indigenous Producers from Canada looking to hone their skills in dramatic feature film production.

Deadline for applications: August 29, 2017

Applicants notified: September 8, 2017

The imagineNATIVE/CMPA Indigenous Film Producers from Canada Lab generously sponsored by the Canadian Media Producers Association, is designed to hone the skills and knowledge base of emerging Indigenous producers from Canada through dedicated one-on-one engagement with an established Indigenous creative industry leader.

For 2017, imagineNATIVE has invited Laura J. Milliken (Ojibway) to lead the initiative.



Laura J. Milliken is an accomplished producer and entrepreneur and a member of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.  She is President and CEO of Toronto-based Big Soul Productions and is co-creator and co-executive producer of the Gemini-nominated dramatic television series, Moccasin Flats.  Since establishing Big Soul Productions over eighteen years ago, Laura has co-created, and produced numerous award-winning programs, including a debut feature film, Fire Song, 29 episodes of Guilt Free Zone (APTN), 22 episodes of Moccasin Flats (Showcase/APTN), a Moccasin Flats television movie entitled Redemption, 20 episodes of the animated comedy series, By The Rapids (APTN), 39 episodes of The Seventh Generation (APTN), and numerous short films, television specials, documentaries, music videos, PSA’s and corporate videos.

She is currently developing Awakening, a thirteen episode, one-hour drama and seven feature films, among other projects that are always in some sort of phase of creation! 

Through a public application process, imagineNATIVE will invite four emerging Indigenous producers from Canada – with minimal credits on professionally presented short or feature film work – to participate in a three-day “lab” with Milliken.

Through a series of daily private, intensive half-day sessions running October 20-22, 2017 Milliken 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 invite industry leaders in-conversation with Milliken to inform and enhance perspectives within the larger media arts sector. 

Speaking about her experience at the 2016 imagineNATIVE/CMPA Indigenous Film Producers from Canada Lab, filmmaker Alexandra Lazarowich said The thing I loved best was the mentorship with Laura Milliken, her guidance, advice and ability to answer questions about the producing process was world class! I also enjoyed the structure and meetings with the industry partners, it was great to get face to face time with them and then network after the Producer's Lab was done."



Applicants must be Indigenous Canadian (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) and be 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, 2017 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, a short description about your current project(s) how you hope the lab will improve your skills.
  • online links to two (2) works in the producing role (you may have done other roles on the project)

·       Indicate three areas of the field you would like to understand or develop more or be introduced to during the lab"

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


About imagineNATIVE:

The 18th annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the largest international festival of its kind that celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples on the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio and new media. Each fall, the festival presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe. The Festival's screenings, parties, panel discussions, and cultural events attract and connect filmmakers, media artists, programmers, buyers, and industry professionals. The works accepted reflect the diversity of the world's Indigenous nations and illustrate the vitality and excellence of our art and culture in contemporary media. This year’s Festival runs October 18–22, 2017.