National Screen Institute and The Shine Network Institute announce first ever cultural competency certificate course for the Canadian screen sector


Rachel Young

Outreach and Engagement Lead

The National Screen Institute and The Shine Network Institute have partnered to build an online learning course titled PACT (Pledge – Activate – Cultivate – Thrive) designed to provide non-Indigenous people in the film and television sector with cultural humility and competency training to prepare them for working with Indigenous productions and content.

Spearheaded by industry veteran Jennifer Podemski, founder and CEO of The Shine Network Institute, PACT is created by a collective of Indigenous women and is a feminine response to address barriers to success for Indigenous producers, content creators and screen sector professionals. Program consultants include Tasha Spillett, Tanya Brunel, Gladys Rowe, Selena Mills and NVision Insight Group.

The course is funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) and has a fixed purpose of improving outcomes for Indigenous people by creating safer, more culturally informed spaces and empowering non-Indigenous producers with the tools, resources and best practices that align with Indigenous values and ways of knowing.

The certified course will be offered for free.

“As an Indigenous woman with 30 years in front of and behind the camera, I am constantly in awe of the lack of cultural awareness and cultural competency in relation to Indigenous people, stories and content,” said Jennifer Podemski. “I’m committed to doing what I can to making lasting change and creating spaces within the sector where Indigenous people are empowered and supported, especially on their own shows. I couldn’t think of a better partner than the National Screen Institute to go on this journey with. I’m so excited to share this with the industry and the Indigenous screen sector community.”

“Good intentions aren’t enough anymore,” said National Screen Institute CEO, Joy Loewen. “The PACT online learning course will be an actionable guide to build awareness and accountability among non-Indigenous people. We are grateful for this first-time funding from WAGE and humbled by the opportunity to partner with alumna and program advisor Jennifer Podemski and the incredible team of women as we produce a resource that drives change from the inside out.”

“Sharing stories brings us closer together. We listen, we learn and we have the opportunity to act with empathy. That’s when real change begins. This funding allows the National Screen Institute and The Shine Network Institute to create a cultural competency course, that will provide a deeper understanding of the experiences of Indigenous peoples. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this course will have as it shines a necessary spotlight on Indigenous cultures across Canada,” said The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.

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This project has been funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.

About The Shine Network Institute

The Shine Network Institute is an Indigenous owned and operated not-for-profit organization offering professional development, advocacy, consulting and mentorship for Indigenous women in the film, television and media sector.

Committed to dismantling systemic and structural barriers Indigenous women face in the screen sector while empowering Indigenous women to harness their potential and thrive.

“We must uplift, protect and celebrate the voices and perspectives of Indigenous women. There are too few of us working behind and in front of the camera. Those you read about are doing incredible and important work yet represent less than 1 per cent of Canadian content creators receiving funding. When that changes we will witness a monumental shift in our collective narrative and we will all be better for it.” Jennifer Podemski, Founder and CEO.

For more information, please contact:

Emily Leger: em***@ro*********.com
Kasserine Nifras: ka*******@ro*********.com

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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 in regional and remote areas and various religious groups.

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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.