FCFF Industry Sessions

Meet the Creators: A Conversation with Indigenous Filmmakers

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Stream began October 23, 2020 5:00 PM UTC
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Co-presented by Women In the Director’s Chair (panel)

Join co-creator of the internationally respected Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) program, Dr. Carol Whiteman as she moderates a panel of accomplished Indigenous women directors in a discussion about leadership, voice, success and what it takes to create film projects in today’s landscape.


Dr. Carol Whiteman Best known as co-creator and producer of Canada's internationally respected Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) program, Whiteman is a two-time Governor General’s award nominee and multiple award-winner for promoting gender equality in Canada’s screen industry. Since 1997, Whiteman has worked tirelessly to advance the careers, fiction feature films, network television and web series of a generation of female screen writers and directors across Canada and internationally. She produced over 150 short films through WIDC and is executive producer on seven award-winning feature films including Red Snow, Rustic Oracle, and Queen of the Morning Calm, with two more WIDC features in the pipeline. Whiteman recently completed her doctoral degree in education at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. Her dissertation shares an inspiring chronicle of the tenacity and transformative leadership behind WIDC’s decades-long history.


Shelly Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Shelley Niro is a multi-media artist. Her work involves photography, painting, beadwork, and film. Niro is conscious of the impact post-colonial mediums have had on Indigenous people. Like many artists from different Native communities, she works relentlessly presenting people in realistic and explorative portrayals. Photo series such as MOHAWKS IN BEEHIVES, THIS LAND IS MIME LAND, and M: STORIES OF WOMEN are a few of the genre of artwork. Films include HONEY MOCCASIN, IT STARTS WITH A WHISPER, THE SHIRT, KISSED BY LIGHTNING, and ROBERT’S PAINTINGS. Recently she finished her film THE INCREDIBLE 25th YEAR OF MITZI BEARCLAW. Shelley graduated from the Ontario College of Art, Honours and received her Master of Fine Art from the University of Western Ontario. Niro was the inaugural recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Award presented through the Ontario Arts Council in 2012. In 2017 Niro received the Governor General’s Award For The Arts from the Canada Council, The Scotiabank Photography Award and also received the Hnatyshyn Foundation REVEAL Award. Niro recently received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario College of Arts and Design University. She also was the 2019 Laureate of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Photography.

Zoe Hopkins is a Heiltsuk and Mohawk woman, born in Bella Bella, a fishing village on the coast of BC. She is now raising her son in her father’s community of Six Nations, Ontario, where she learned to speak and teach Kanyen’kéha (the Mohawk language.) Hopkins drew upon her personal connection to the Great Bear Rainforest for her award-winning first feature film, Kayak to Klemtu, which received a theatrical release in Canada, and is distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media. Winner of: Audience Choice Award: imagineNATIVE Film Festival & Powell River Film Festival; Best Canadian First Feature Film: Victoria Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature: CAIIFF, Official Selection: Edinburgh International Film Festival, Leo Awards: Best Actress (Ta’Kaiya Blaney), Best Supporting Actress (Sonja Bennett), Best Director & Best Actor (Lorne Cardinal): American Indian Film Festival. Hopkins holds a BAA in Film from Ryerson University, and is an alumna of the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program. Her films have screened Internationally at festivals including Sundance and Berlinale. Hopkins is a member of the Embargo Collective; creators of the omnibus feature, The Embargo Project, which included her short film Skyworld (Best Short Film, Niagara Integrated Film Festival). Zoe is a writer on the soon-to-be broadcast dramatic series entitled, Trickster, based on the much-celebrated book Son of a Trickster, by Eden Robinson. Also for the small screen, Zoe has directed an episode of the music documentary series, Amplify, for APTN. In 2004, she was Senior Producer on the documentary series, Venturing Forth, also for APTN. She directed 26 episodes of the children’s series Art Zone, produced by Force Four Entertainment. Zoe is currently in post-production with her sophomore feature, previously entitled Running Home, with Toronto’s Big Soul Productions and Devonshire Productions. Zoe is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada.