The Tomahawk, developed through NSI New Northern Voices, makes world premiere on National Canadian Film Day

The Tomahawk

Rachel Young

Outreach and Engagement Lead

The Tomahawk, developed through the National Screen Institute’s New Northern Voices training program, will make its world premiere as part of National Canadian Film Day on April 19 in The Pas, Manitoba.

Written and directed by Steven Bignell and produced by Stuart Matheson, The Tomahawk was filmed in The Pas and Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba with guidance and mentorship from Academy Award®-nominated director Sturla Gunnarsson. He will attend the premiere and participate in a Q&A with the filmmakers following the screening.

The short film, featuring local cast and crew, follows an experienced Cree scout and a lost German boy during World War II. They put their differences aside and try to make their way home in war-torn Germany.

“I’m very excited to see the film premiere and show the members of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and The Pas that we have the talent to make something like this. I hope it will inspire others in the community that it can be done,” says Steven Bignell.

Steven and Stuart – from The Pas and Opaskwayak Cree Nation – developed the film with award-winning writer Jordan Wheeler through NSI New Northern Voices – a part-time, online training program. The program is designed to strengthen the skills and abilities of new and emerging writers to craft stories told from a northern Manitoba perspective.

Once script workshopping was complete on three projects, The Tomahawk was selected to move into production. Sturla Gunnarsson signed on as director mentor, providing mentorship online and in-person throughout the production process.

“It’s a dream come true seeing something I wrote on paper years ago, go through the ins-and-outs of production and see it come to life from scratch,” says Steven. “Having Jordan Wheeler as writing mentor and Sturla Gunnarsson on board as a director mentor was a great experience. I learned a lot from them.”

The Tomahawk will premiere as part of National Canadian Film Day, a one-day celebration of films from storytellers across the country. Learn more about National Canadian Film Day and their hundreds of events taking place on April 19.

The Tomahawk premiere:

View our event page to register for the premiere.

The National Screen Institute thanks REEL CANADA and the Directors Guild of Canada for their support of this event.

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NSI New Northern Voices is led by program managers Ursula Lawson and Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill.

NSI New Northern Voices 2020-22 is funded by NSI Indigenous Training Programs Partner Directors Guild of Canada (DGC); Strategic Sponsor Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors StantecRBC Emerging Artists ProjectTELUS Manitoba Community Board, and Super Channel; Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music; Industry Partner Entertainment Partners; Industry Supporter Final DraftNative Communications Inc. and Jan Miller, International Consultant, Pitching, Content Development; NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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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, Paramount+, Creative Saskatchewan; Builders: APTN, TikTok Canada, Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), The Winnipeg Foundation; Strategic Sponsors: Manitoba Film & Music, Bell Media, RBC Emerging Artists, documentary Channel, CBC Gem, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD), Alberta Film Commission, Creative BC, Manitoba Arts Council; Industry Partner: National Film Board of Canada; Friends: Ontario Creates, Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), Bell FundWilliam F. White International, Company 3.