Customized training and mentorship for Indigenous storytellers to produce a broadcast-ready film for APTN.

Program status:

Training underway


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

As an emerging to mid-career filmmaker, you will lead the project as both writer and director. Training and personalized mentorship are provided.

During phase 1 you will engage in online training sessions, complete assignments to evolve your documentary idea, prepare for production and attend the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online.

In phase 2, you’ll begin the production part of your documentary journey. You’ll be provided with a budget and professional guidance as your vision unfolds. You’ll work with a mentor and executive producer during all stages of the production process including collaborating with the National Film Board on post-production.

*Your final documentary will be shown on APTN (a world-premiere, one-hour special featuring all four NSI IndigiDocs films), documentary Channel, CBC Gem, NFB platform, and

At a glance

  • Applications open: Monday, February 14, 2022
  • Application deadline:  Friday, March 11, 2022 at 5 p.m., CT
  • Selected participants notified: April 1, 2022
  • All other applicants notified: April 4, 2022
  • Phase 1 (online training): April 19 to May 30, 2022 + virtual attendance at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
  • Phase 2 (production/mentorship): July 2022 to March 2023
  • Attendance at imagineNATIVE: October 2022
  • Phase 3 (film delivery to APTN): March 31, 2023

Key information

Program dates
April 2022 to March 2023
Part-time, online and in-person
There is no cost to apply or participate. The application fee of $50 and tuition of $250 have been waived through the generous contribution of program partners.

This training is for you if:

  • You have an original idea for a 10-minute documentary film. (You possess the rights to that idea, have full access to film your subject(s), have a treatment and can provide a director’s vision for your visual conceptual style)
  • You have basic experience in: production (pre-development, filming, post-production), in business affairs/legal matters relevant to film/TV, or in marketing/distribution. A combination of some or all of these will be considered

To be eligible you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada, aged 18 or over
  • Be an Indigenous person: someone who is First Nation, Métis or Inuit
  • Have experience as a writer/director and/or producer
  • Have demonstrated technical competence and a clear storytelling ability in your past project(s)
  • Maintain creative and financial control over the project as well as technical ownership. This includes ownership of, or option on, all underlying rights (if any). The National Screen Institute reserves the right to disqualify any participant who does not fully own the rights in and to the project
  • Agree not to participate in another initiative, or have inflexible commitments, that would prevent you from fully engaging in this program and the production of your film

COVID-19 will still be a factor during the production of your documentary. You will be asked to prove that your film can be produced with COVID safety protocols in mind and in accordance with local health regulations.

In this program, you will:

  • Work with an experienced documentary writer, director, producer, mentor and editor to produce your documentary film
  • Learn about concept development, research, writing and directing
  • Learn the basics about financing, tax credits, production planning, cash flow etc.
  • Explore online marketing and learn how to build an audience for your film
  • Attend the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival online
  • Attend the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival

Program phases

Phase 1: six-week online training

April 19 to May 30, 2022

Starting on April 19, you will attend three to four weekly sessions online (midday/early evening), along with homework assignments to be completed in your own time. Your attendance and participation is mandatory for all sessions.

There will be weekly wellness check-ins, training with industry experts and opportunities to meet with broadcasters. The program advisor will also be available for weekly scheduled office hours to assist with homework and answer questions.

Weeks one, two and three focus on the story development of your documentary. During weeks four, five and six you’ll concentrate on developing your directing skills. You are required to attend the 2022 Hot Docs Film Festival online from April 28 to May 8, 2022.

While NSI IndigiDocs is taking place, the National Screen Institute will also be delivering NSI Art of Business Management – Indigenous Edition, a program designed to develop the skills of emerging to mid-career producers. We’re planning to bring together students from both programs and you will have an opportunity to meet and get to know each other through several joint sessions.

Phase 2: production and post-production

July 2022 to March 2023

Upon successfully completing phase 1, you will move into production in phase 2 with the guidance of a mentor and executive producer.

Working within your own community, you will focus on producing your documentary. Hours are flexible to allow you to continue with your life and work commitments.

You will sign contracts with the National Screen Institute, APTN and documentary Channel. You must also form a corporation before going into production and receiving funding. The National Screen Institute will guide you through this process and contribute $1K towards the cost of incorporation. A cash award of up to $20K and approximately $10K of in-kind services are provided towards the production of your film. The award must fund the cost of producing your film and not pay for your services.

In early 2023, you’ll begin collaborating with the National Film Board. You must complete your film by March 31, 2023 in accordance with your contract with the National Screen Institute, APTN and documentary Channel.

Attendance at imagineNATIVE: October 2022

You will attend the festival either online or in-person (TBC). If travel / in-person attendance is possible, your registration fee, travel expenses and accommodation will be covered through the program.

Note: the training curriculum and dates are subject to change.

Program phases

Our commitment to underrepresented voices

At the National Screen Institute we serve and help develop the gifts of Indigenous creators.

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.


Please review the FAQ below. Rachel Young, outreach and engagement lead at the National Screen Institute ( is happy to help with any further questions.

Frequently asked questions

Meet the faculty


Sonia Bonspille Boileau

Program and Story Advisor

Sonia is a bilingual Kanien’kehá:ka-Quebecois filmmaker who has been working for over 15 years at bringing Indigenous content to the screen for audiences of all cultural backgrounds.


Lori Lozinski

Executive Producer

Lori Lozinski is an award-winning filmmaker based in Vancouver, British Columbia and the president of Violator Films Inc., an independent production company that has been telling maverick stories since 2007.


Cheyenne Bruneau

Program Manager

An alumna of CBC New Indigenous Voices 2012, Cheyenne values the thread of connective storytelling within the Indigenous screen industry through the sharing of traditional teachings, while encouraging a collective healing.

Associate faculty

Meet the students

Dustin McGladrey

Dustin McGladrey

Audio reflection + bio

Glen Reid

Glen Reid

Written reflection + bio

Jay Cardinal Villeneuve

Jay Cardinal Villeneuve

Written reflection + bio

Keisha Erwin

Keisha Erwin

Video reflection + bio


Program Partners

aptn manitoba-government RBC Emerging Artists directors-guild-of-canada documentary channel cbc-gem Telefilm Canada A&E Creative BC Creative Saskatchewan SMPIA Logo NFB IATSE-856 entertainment-partners final-draft DOC imagineNATIVE Hot Docs line21 isplice-films winnipeg-arts-council
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