NSI Aboriginal Documentary short Cree Code Talker celebrates world premiere at Calgary Film Fest

Cree Code Talker / Link to Calgary Film Fest

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) congratulates Alexandra Lazarowich and Cowboy Smithx on the world premiere of their NSI Aboriginal Documentary short Cree Code Talker at the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) later this month.

“Alexandra and Cowboy’s film tells an important Alberta story and it’s exciting to see it premiere in Calgary this year,” said Elise Swerhone, NSI Aboriginal Documentary program co-manager. “NSI is proud to have helped bring it to fruition with resources and tools to help strengthen the skills of Indigenous documentary filmmakers.”

Using archival footage, Cree Code Talker depicts the true story of Albertan Charles “Checker” Tomkins and how the Cree language was used by code talkers to transmit crucial military communications for the US Air Force during WWII.

“Without the support of NSI – especially Elise Swerhorne, Ursula Lawson and Lisa Jackson – I don’t think we could have made this film,” said Alexandra. “Their continuous support and advice regarding all areas of the documentary process was incredibly helpful and helped both Cowboy and I build new skills.

“The support of NSI was twofold because our film was also guided by our amazing mentor Sturla Gunnarsson. He spent countless hours and late nights meeting with our editor Andres and myself to provide insight. Without his constant support and attention to story, Cree Code Talker would not be what it is.”

Cree Code Talker premieres on September 25 at 5:30 p.m at CIFF. The film has been selected to screen as part of the Alberta Spirit program. It is also eligible to win the $2,500 Alberta Spirit Award at the fest which recognizes the best in Alberta short filmmaking.

CIFF’s mission is to entertain and engage audiences by curating the most innovative and compelling films, and creating remarkable festival experiences.

About NSI Aboriginal Documentary

NSI Aboriginal Documentary is a short documentary film training program designed to take emerging Aboriginal filmmakers to the next level of their career. A development launch pad for emerging producer/director teams, the course pairs filmmakers with an industry mentor to help with the final development and production of a 10-minute documentary. Films air as a one-hour special on APTN and aptn.ca and will stream individually on nfb.ca.

NSI Aboriginal Documentary 2016 is supported by Presenting Sponsor NBCUniversal; Program Partners Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage and RBC Emerging Artists Project; NSI Aboriginal Training Programs Partner Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries; Bootcamp Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Supporting Sponsors Entertainment One, Super Channel, Corus Entertainment, Telefilm CanadaBreakthrough Entertainment, imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; Tuition Sponsor NBCUniversal; Provincial Sponsors Manitoba Film & Music and Creative Saskatchewan; Industry Partners National Film Board of CanadaAcademy of Canadian Cinema & Television (ACCT) and Directors Guild of Canada; and Service Sponsor Line 21 Media. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

About the National Screen Institute

Renowned for having given many emerging filmmakers, television writers and producers their first breaks, the National Screen Institute provides training and production support through courses like NSI Totally TelevisionNSI New VoicesNSI Features First,Movie Central Script to ScreenCorus Diverse TV DirectorNSI Aboriginal Documentary, TELUS STORYHIVE Web Series and Digital Shorts, and TELUS Optik™ Local.

NSI also offers exposure through the NSI Online Short Film Festival and provides vast resources and support to those in the film, television and digital media industry at nsi-canada.ca.

All media enquiries

Laura Friesen, Manager, Communications & Alumni Relations
Tel: 204.957.2999 or email: laura.friesen@nsi-canada.ca

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