Trudy Stewart (NSI IndigiDocs) died suddenly on Saturday, September 28 aged 46. This news has broken all of our hearts.
I had the pleasure of meeting Trudy when she was in the NSI IndigiDocs program in 2016 with her producing partner Janine Windolph.
Trudy was a beautiful person. I remember her sitting with Janine through the training sessions. They were both very quiet, both emanated wisdom and strength. It was clear they were strong friends who would work well together during the course, and they did.
They made a beautiful film, From Up North, about statement gatherers. Janine and Trudy were both statement gatherers for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). The experience changed them, and they set out to make a film about that experience.
The goal was lofty for a 10-minute documentary. In the end Trudy, who directed and wrote with Janine as producer, made the very courageous decision to put herself in the film. We hear in voice over what she was thinking while taking the statement of residential school survivor Noel Starblanket. The result is a film that’s as quiet and powerful as the women who made it. Trudy’s beauty, wisdom, grace and generosity shine.
The film went to screen at many festivals including Wairoa Māori Film Festival, where it won the International Indigenous Award in 2017. Trudy chose to take Noel Starblanket (who passed away earlier this year) with her to receive the award.
Losing Trudy is a huge blow to the Canadian film community. She was an associate producer on nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up by Tasha Hubbard (NSI IndigiDocs), which won the Hot Docs best Canadian feature documentary earlier this year. The film will also screen at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival later this month.
Trudy was also a short film programmer for imagineNATIVE. All this while home schooling her two young boys.
Trudy was primed to do so much more. She touched many hearts and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are very much with her family and many friends.