Focal Point: Desiree Brightnose, RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award recipient

Desiree Brightnose

Rachel Young

Outreach and Engagement Lead

Photo by Douglas Little Photography, courtesy of RBC.

Congratulations to Desiree Brightnose, the recipient of the inaugural RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award!

Funded by the RBC Foundation through Emerging Artists and powered by the National Screen Institute, this award supports the career and talents of an emerging Indigenous filmmaker in Canada with $7,500 and mentorship from acclaimed filmmaker and award advisor, Sonya Ballantyne.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet – I’m truly honoured to be the recipient of this amazing award,” says Desiree.

Desiree is a Cree filmmaker and entrepreneur based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s an alumna of the CBC New Indigenous Voices program, and currently works as a production manager with Kejic Productions.

Her journey in the film industry began in 2018 when she studied media production at Assiniboine Community College. During her studies, she was inspired to take control of her own narrative and tell Indigenous stories from an Indigenous perspective.

“Seeing non-Indigenous people come into our communities and profit off our traumas, not understanding how it impacts our community or respecting our Elders – that’s what made me start my own company.”

Tilted Teepee Productions, which Desiree launched in 2020, focuses on Indigenous language revitalization and helping Indigenous people reconnect, or discover, their language. Desiree works with Elders in the community and shares their teachings to people across the country.

“Being able to sit with Elders and listen to their stories and teachings, that’s when I know this is where I’m meant to be,” says Desiree. “Sharing Indigenous stories, and bringing that light to the world – it’s the beauty of our culture.”

While her work provides a platform for others to discover their language, Desiree is on her own journey of learning Cree, and what it means to be a Cree woman in film. Helping people reconnect with who they are fuels Desiree’s journey of self-discovery.

“It’s a lot of learning – tripping and falling, then getting back up. But, when I think of the generations before us being pushed into the darkness, hidden away with shame of our identity – being able to break that cycle and support others who are also breaking that cycle motivates me.”

After receiving the RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award, Desiree has been able to invest further into Tilted Teepee Productions – including new film equipment, upgrading information technologies and branding and marketing tools. Desiree says awards like this provide access for Indigenous creators who want to build their business.

“All of my equipment comes from my own pocket, and it can be really hard. You can only do so much with what you have,” says Desiree. “When I saw this award, I thought it was so helpful – I was nervous, but I said ‘Okay – let’s go!’”

Congratulations, Desiree! Read more about the RBC Emerging Indigenous Filmmaker Award in our media release. Follow along as we share more news about Desiree and the amazing work she’s doing!

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