Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Month: Savage and The Provider

We’re highlighting two more of our favourite films by female directors to celebrate Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Month in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. This week’s shorts are from directors Brianne Nord-Stewart and Lisa Jackson.

Shaw Media supports the Fearless Female Director award in our film fest, presented to the best film by a female director four times a year. To honour the award, we’re bringing you a month of our favourite films by female directors.

Each week watch two fantastic films by talented Canadian female directors: they’ve all been in the NSI Online Short Film Festival, some have won awards and all are totally worth seeing again.

The Provider previously won the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director award.


Savage, directed by Lisa Jackson, is a residential school musical.

On a summer day in the 1950s, a native girl watches the countryside go by from the backseat of a car. A woman at her kitchen table sings a lullaby in her Cree language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that will turn the woman’s gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain.

In a place like this, there aren’t many chances to be a kid. But, when no one’s watching …

Lisa Jackson says, “Savage comes out of an initiative of the imagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto called The Embargo Collective.

The festival selected seven international indigenous filmmakers and brought us together to discuss our work, the creative challenges we were facing and – ultimately – assign obstructions to each other for the making of a short film. Being a documentary filmmaker, I was assigned a musical that would include heavy metal, set decoration and working with both actors and non-actors.

For all of the filmmakers, there was a universal theme of patience and no English allowed. We premiered the films on October 17, 2009 at the festival’s 10th anniversary.

Savage is my response to the challenge.

I used my ‘obstructions’ to bring a fresh take (at times even a humorous one – yes, there are zombies), on Canada’s residential school history, which, sadly, is still unknown to many Canadians.

As in my first short film Suckerfish (which looks at my own history with my mother and native identity), with Savage I’m trying to subvert stereotypes about ‘native issues’ and use an unconventional approach to get underneath preconceptions and deliver an emotional experience.

My mother was a residential school survivor who was taken away at age five and I’ve always known I would work to bring a deeper awareness of this part of Canada’s history to light. To that end I’m writing a feature film on the subject and am immersed in historical research. This short musical is a stand-alone ‘gesture’ inspired by the subject I feel so passionately about.”

The Provider


In The Provider, directed by Brianne Nord-Stewart, a woman takes drastic action to feed her family.

Brianne Nord-Stewart says, “The Provider was written, shot and originally edited in 48 hours as part of the Bloodshots Canada Horror Filmmaking Competition.

The story and script were completed in three hours, production within 13 hours. We had a cast and crew of 28, all of whom volunteered their time and worked harder and more efficiently than on any film I have had the pleasure to be a part of.

As a viewer I am not drawn towards horror films and I typically do not have a desire to make them. However the unique opportunity to make a film in 48 hours was tempting and the challenges and excitement were thrilling. As a result, The Provider is a film that leaves the stereotypical genre expectation unfulfilled while creating anticipation for what could possibly happen next.”

• • •

This week we’ve also programmed two new films in the NSI Online Short Film Festival: Let it Out! by Laura Antohi and The Escapement by Ryan Hanson. Watch them now.

The NSI Online Short Film Festival is made possible through the support of Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media, Program Partner Telefilm Canada, Comedy Award Sponsor Blue Ant Media, Female Director Award Sponsor Shaw Media, Overall Best Film Award Sponsor A&E Television Networks, and Supporting Sponsor Netflix.

Leave a comment