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Finalists of Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship named

Four B.C. writers and directors learn about the business at Whistler Film Festival
Mentor Actor and director Lorne Cardinal will be at the Whistler Film Festival this year to guide four Indigenous filmmakers selected for the Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship.

Four Indigenous filmmakers from British Columbia have been chosen as finalists in the first Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship at the Whistler Film Festival (WFF).

The fellowship is a two-day creative and business intensive program that is designed to support emerging First Nations writers and directors from B.C. and will take place on Dec. 6 and 7.

The four finalists are Elle-Maijia Tailfeather, with a short documentary called Dad, Jay Cardinal Villeneuve with a short drama called Mikiwam, Roseanne Supernault, with a short drama called Hope, and Sarah Hagar, with a short sci-fi film called Disorder.

Their mentors include actor and director Lorne Cardinal, known for his work on Corner Gas, producer Cynde Harmon, actor and singer Andrea Menard, and director and actor Marie Clements.

The program's facilitators are Canadian producer Elizabeth Yake and the Sundance Institute's director of Native American and Indigenous program, N. Bird Runningwater.

"We are excited to have First Nations storytelling at the heart of this year's festival. The Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship is particularly apropos in a year that we will be screening a strong number of First Nations-themed feature films," says WFF's director of programming, Paul Gratton.

Other input in the sessions will come from the president and CEO of the Canadian Media Fund, Valerie Creighton, and the chair of the imagiNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Marcia Nickerson.

The first day of the program focuses on short film script development with mentors offering constructive feedback and professional advice to help the finalists take their projects to the next level.

The second day allows finalists the chance to work in the WFF's industry Summit ShortWork Lab, where they will get insight in narrative short-form storytelling with a day of panel discussions, pitches, networking and screenings.

Lorne Cardinal said in a release:

"I applaud the Whistler Film Festival for providing an exciting opportunity for Aboriginal filmmakers to enhance their skill set. Not only does it make for a welcoming and inclusive environment for filmmakers to learn and succeed with their projects but their stories can bolster Canadian identity, which in turn strengthens the fabric of our beautiful country."