imagineNATIVE and DGC Ontario grow partnership with their co-presentation of the inaugural Mini-Lab for Canadian Indigenous Film Directors

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imagineNATIVE continues to grow the industry’s key creatives’ skills from development to delivery and is providing professional development intensives in each creative discipline with more impactful development supporting artists before, during and after the Festival.

The imagineNATIVE/DGC Ontario Lab for Indigenous Directors from Canada invites four emerging Canadian Indigenous directors – with credits on professionally presented short film work – to participate in a three-day lab with returning, established and award-winning director Tracey Deer, whose breadth of quality work and leadership role in the sector and community will brings valuable perspective and insight for the participants.


imagineNATIVE has selected DGC Ontario Director Member and Aboriginal filmmaker Tracey Deer as the lead mentor for the 2016 imagineNATIVE Mini-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 Canadian Indigenous directors – with minimal credits on professionally presented short or feature film work – to participate in a three-day “mini-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 has creative career has grown alongside imagineNATIVE’s maturation in providing unique opportunities for Indigenous creatives. This director-focused mini-lab completes a trifecta of professional development opportunities which include our producer and screenwriter focused intensives. We hope this mini-lab will spur the charge of our selected participants success in the directorial fields within Canada’s media arts sector.”

The imagineNATIVE Mini-Lab for Indigenous Canadian Film Directors is now accepting applications, see information below. Deadline for submission is September 25, 2016. Applicants will be notified of their results by October 1, 2016.


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.

imagineNATIVE is the world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organisation is recognised 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).

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Mini- 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 mini-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 including:

  • Evolution of a career: Discussing professional career trajectory, the lessons learned and experience gained, what drives their decisions, the cultural impact and influence of Indigenous heritage on their career, managing and committing to creative and economically driven projects, and work/life;
  • D.I.Y. versus team collaboration: distinction, benefits and challenges;
  • Case studies of their works to provide guidance and insight on practical processes for developing larger scale directorial vision;
  • Directing diversity - content and mediums;
  • Development opportunities in Canada and internationally to gain experience and recognition
  • The Director-Actor relationship
  • Cultural challenges and successes in the Industry


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 mini-lab will improve your skills.
  • Online links to two (2) prior works in a directorial role

Deadline for applications is September 25, 2016. Applicants will be notified of their results by October 1, 2016. For further information, please email Daniel Northway-Frank.

2017 iN Industry Series Sponsors:

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