Indigenous writer/directors: bring your documentary idea to life through NSI IndigiDocs


Rachel Young

Outreach and Engagement Lead

Are you an emerging Indigenous writer/director with a great idea for a short documentary? Get customized training and mentorship to produce a broadcast-ready film for APTN* through the 10th edition of NSI IndigiDocs.

Four Indigenous filmmakers will be selected to participate in this intensive, online training program to develop a short documentary idea into a 10-minute finished film.

Emerging to mid-career filmmakers are invited to apply and will act as both writer and director for their project. Each participant receives a cash award of up to $20K and approximately $10K of in-kind services towards production.

During phase one, participants will engage in online training sessions, complete assignments to evolve their documentary idea and prepare for production. All participants will virtually attend the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

In phase two, participants will begin to transform their idea into reality as they work alongside an assigned mentor who will provide advice and guidance as they move through each step of production. Participants will collaborate with the National Film Board on post production and finished films will be broadcast on *APTN (world-premiere, one-hour special featuring all four NSI IndigiDocs films), documentary Channel, CBC Gem, NFB’s platform, and APTN lumi.

“The NSI IndigiDocs program is a fantastic opportunity for Indigenous storytellers to hone their filmmaking skills and create a film that showcases their unique voices,” says Monika Ille, CEO of APTN. “With the program now celebrating its 10th year, APTN is even more delighted to continue supporting this program and sharing the stories of Indigenous Peoples with all Canadians.”

This year, the National Screen Institute has introduced a new plan to expand the networks of participants. NSI IndigiDocs will run alongside NSI Art of Business Management – Indigenous Edition, a program designed to develop the skills of emerging to mid-career producers. Students from both programs will have an opportunity to meet and get to know each other through several joint sessions.

“NSI IndigiDocs has helped amplify the voices of many Indigenous filmmakers, supporting them as they realize their vision and share it with the world,” says program manager, Cheyenne Bruneau. “As we launch this new edition, we hope to expand our program and work to foster a network of Indigenous storytellers who are ready to forge their own paths in the industry.”

Applications are now open. Deadline to apply is March 11, 2022

Over 30 broadcast-ready documentaries have been produced through the NSI IndigiDocs program. Many of these documentaries have premiered at renowned festivals or received prestigious awards.

All four of the latest NSI IndigiDocs projects made their world premieres at festivals including Vancouver International Film Festival, Yellowknife International Film Festival and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

NSI IndigiDocs documentary êmîcêtôsêt-Many Bloodlines, from creators Theola Ross and Alex Bailey, premiered at the 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and received the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary. The documentary was later named to the TIFF Top 10 shorts list.

Program faculty includes Sonia Bonspille Boileau as program and story advisor, Lori Lozinski as executive producer and Cheyenne Bruneau as program manager.

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NSI IndigiDocs 2020-22 was funded by Program Partners APTN, Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and RBC Emerging Artists Project; Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Boot Camp Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Strategic Sponsors documentary Channel, CBC Gem; Supporting Sponsors Telefilm Canada, Super Channel and A&E Networks; Provincial / Territorial Sponsors Manitoba Film & Music, Ontario Creates, Northwest Territories Film Commission, Creative Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA), Yukon Media Development and the Alberta Government; Industry Partners the National Film Board of Canada, Entertainment Partners; Industry Supporters imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Service Sponsors Line 21 Media and iSplice Films. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

About APTN

APTN launched in 1999 as the world’s first national Indigenous broadcaster, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit and charitable broadcaster, it’s the first of its kind in North America. The network is Sharing Our Stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages to nearly 10 million Canadian subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audiences through genuine, inspiring and engaging entertainment on multiple platforms.

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About the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)

Propelled by a visionary network of donors, private and public organizations, board members and staff, the National Screen Institute supports creators from across Canada to tell unforgettable stories. Through industry-informed training and mentoring in film, television and digital media, students and alumni find their voice and place on the global stage, inspiring us to shape a better world.

We are committed to training participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those outside large urban centres, those from regional and remote areas and various religious groups.

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Rachel Young, Outreach and Engagement Lead

The National Screen Institute is supported by: Core Funders: Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage, the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council; Benefactors: TELUS, Telefilm Canada, Canada Media Fund (CMF), Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE); Patrons: CBC, Creative Saskatchewan; Builders: APTN, TikTok Canada, Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), The Winnipeg Foundation; Indigenous Training Programs Partner: Directors Guild of Canada; Strategic Sponsors: Manitoba Film & Music, Bell Media, RBC Emerging Artists, documentary Channel, CBC Gem, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD), Alberta Film Commission, Manitoba Arts Council; Industry Partner: National Film Board of Canada; Friends: Ontario Creates, Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), Bell Fund, Stantec, William F. White International, Company 3.