NSI alumna Shelagh Carter still draws on her director training today

Shelagh Carter

At the National Screen Institute, we’re blessed to see firsthand the difference training makes in the lives of storytellers. On our website throughout December we’ve shared impact stories from our talented alumni who told us how NSI training transformed their lives and careers.

Today’s featured alumna is writer/director Shelagh Carter who, in 2007, made Night Travellers through NSI Drama Prize with producer Michael Linton.

Shelagh is an award-winning filmmaker and lifetime member of The Actors Studio as an actress and director.

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How did your training through NSI help you get to the place you’re at in your career today?

Really quite a remarkable start. The two weeks of intensive training offered a very strong basis – even more than that really – because I still use what I learned during that time as a director.

What was most memorable or helpful about NSI training?

Organizing a potential thought process as a director in the medium of film and television.

Did you make enduring connections with peers and industry folks?

I still follow who I can on social media (Pat Mills, Katie Weekley, Alyson Richards) and, more directly, I stay in touch with Danishka Esterhazy. E. Jane Thompson has continued to be a wonderful mentor and now a good friend.

What advice or encouragement would you give a prospective applicant considering NSI programs?

NSI Drama Prize was to learning key fundamentals what the Ballet Barre is to a dancer’s long-term training: invaluable and necessary.

What has your career trajectory looked like between when you completed training and now?

It seriously opened the door to applying to the Canadian Film Centre – I was accepted. And from there put me in line with the Canadian industry’s funding bodies. By which I mean, they recognized my experience and training when I started to apply in a very competitive area (feature film). I have now done several short films and four feature films.

What was the most transformative part of your learning experience?

Understanding the beauty and importance of the short film to one’s thinking as a director and then its execution.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

Three feature films. The most ready is The Woman Who Swallowed West Hawk Lake, a ghost story with ties to the Holocaust. And two books I’ve optioned to write the screenplay and direct.

Where can people find out more about your work online?

Darkling Cinema.

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