The Indigenous Screen Office is excited to announce the support of filmmaker Justin Ducharme in the 2022 Sundance Institutes’ Native Lab for his episodic series titled Positions.
The lab focuses on the specific development of storytellers from Native and Indigenous backgrounds, encompassing feature film and episodic work. During the fellowship Justin will hone his storytelling and technical skills in a hands-on and supportive environment, including one-on-one feedback sessions with advisors and roundtable discussions.
Justin Ducharme is a filmmaker, writer, dancer and curator from the Métis community of St. Ambroise on Treaty 1 Territory. He is the writer/director of four short films including 2018’s Positions. His writing has been featured in Canadian Art and Prism International magazine. He currently lives and works on Unceded Coast Salish Territory.
Interview with Justin
ISO: Describe your project.
Justin: Positions is an episodic mini-series adapted from my short film. It follows a young queer Indigenous boy who has recently made the move from his rural community to an urban city. Ultimately it tells the coming of age story through a queer Indigenous lens – touching on an unapologetic exploration through sexual desire, the quest for financial stability and the pursuit of agency over one’s own body.
ISO: Why was it important to you to receive ISO funding?
Justin: As a queer Indigenous filmmaker who is committed to telling contemporary narratives about Queer, Trans and two-spirit (2S) characters my access to funding has been limited. My last two short films were almost entirely self-funded. It’s important to me because it tells me that our stories matter, and that our larger community is interested in seeing stories about 2S individuals who represent us as complex fully realized people. Since the ISO’s inception I have been able to access funding for projects like the ones I want to make, so I’m forever grateful for the ISO and all they do to see varied Indigenous representation on screen.
ISO: What are you most looking forward to at Sundance’s Native Lab?
Justin: Honestly the biggest thing I’m stoked for is to meet other Indigenous filmmakers and to learn and share with one another. Every single piece of work I’ve made was able to get finished because I have an amazing community behind me who encourage and support me. Filmmaking is never a solo project, and I’m so lucky to have met & cultivated relationships with people who make me a better artist, a better filmmaker…so I’m looking forward to the community aspect and meeting new Indigenous creatives!
ISO: What will you be working on while there?
Justin: Character and story structure are some big things I mentioned in the interview process when talking about the current draft of Positions I’m excited to get any bits of wisdom the advisors or fellow lab participants may have for me on those topics as they pertain to my script. I’m also just going into the whole experience attempting to be as absorbent as possible, like a sponge trying to take everything in!
ISO: What led you to apply?
Justin: I’ve been obsessed with Sundance ever since I knew what it was. So many of my favourite films and filmmakers had their starts at the Sundance Institute or at the festival. I’ve submitted every single year that I had new work available or anytime I qualified for one of their labs or institute programs and I knew I wasn’t going to stop until I a) wore them down or b) made something good enough to be selected! Not sure which it was this time but either way I am beyond excited to have been selected and this just goes to show that you should legit never stop trying no matter how many no’s you receive.
ISO: Please add anything you’d like that.
Justin: I’d like to thank everyone at the ISO and all the Indigenous staff at Sundance – Adam, Moi and Katie, for everything they do and everything they’ve done! This experience has been such an amazing ride so far and I still can’t believe I’m part of it.