Wednesday, May 21, 2014

News: ImageNATIVE Script Development Lab recipients announced (press release)

imagineNATIVE Script Development Lab 
Recipients Announcement
Indigenous-Focused Screenwriting Lab Brings High-Profile Creative Mentors And Artists Together In Northern Ontario Intensive

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is thrilled to announce the selected projects and writers for its first ever imagineNATIVE Script Development Lab, a writer-driven program that focuses on the initial stages of narrative feature script development within an Indigenous context. 

Four Indigenous screenwriters were selected from 37 outstanding project submissions from across Canada. The selected projects and writer recipients include:

Michelle Latimer (Métis), “FORGOTTEN” (Drama): Canada’s only female Dangerous Offender fights to reconcile the loss of her daughter while struggling to retain her humanity within the solitary confinement of prison. Based on entirely true events, the filmmaker has been given unprecedented access into the life of one of Canada’s most notorious inmates.

Craig Lauzon (Ojibway/French), “At The End Of The Day” (Romantic Comedy): Mike and Fran are the Ojibway "it" couple, the ones everyone wishes they were like. Or so they think. When Mike is diagnosed with a terminal disease, their relationship is thrown into a tailspin and the romanticized notion of "true love" is put to the test. 

Ryan McMahon (Anishinaabe/Métis), “BAMAAPII – SEE YOU LATER!” (Comedy): Jimmy Small Chief leaves the rez to chase his childhood dreams. While working at a seedy bar, Jimmy ends up on the wrong side of a business deal with an underground mafia and is forced to call on the help of his relatives from the reserve to help him out of his mess.

Kaherawaks Thompson (Mohawk), “THANK YOU, LU” (Drama): Unable to go through with her planned suicide, Luella experiences a mental break and decides to vanish. While her family fears the worst, Luella stumbles into a new life, far away.

"Congratulations to these four talented screenwriters and their deeply engaging, moving and funny stories," says Jason Ryle, Executive Director. "We were very impressed by the quality and quantity of all the treatments submitted and the process was an extremely competitive one. There is a clear need for greater support for Indigenous screenwriters developing dramatic feature scripts and imagineNATIVE is thrilled to offer our first lab with support from the Canada Council for the Arts."

Led by mentors Shannon Masters (EMPIRE OF DIRT) and Shereen Jerrett, from Canada and New Zealand-based Briar Grace-Smith (STRENGTH OF WATER), the lab will support the development of the selected participants’ projects from the treatment stage through to the first draft of a feature-length screenplay.

The lab commences with a four-day immersive retreat on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (formerly Whitefish Lake First Nation) in late May 2014. Delivered by imagineNATIVE, the lab will be run by Cree/Métis filmmaker and former festival director Danis Goulet (WAKENING) and hosted on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory by Anishnaabe filmmaker and councillor Darlene Naponse (EVERY EMOTION COSTS). Following the retreat, the participants will spend the next four months writing their first full draft, culminating at the 15th imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in October 2014 where the artists will reconvene. 

"We're thrilled to have such a talented and established team of advisors and to again be working with Danis Goulet, one of this country's rising stars and a champion of Indigenous cinema," Jason continues. "The lab participants are in for an incredible experience and we all look forward to one day seeing their stories on screen." 

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples at the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio and new media. Each fall, the Festival presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from Canada and around the globe. The works presented reflect the diversity of the world's Indigenous nations and illustrate the vitality and excellence of our art and culture in contemporary media. The 15th edition of the Festival runs from October 22-26, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Visit

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