The Indigenous Screen Office and the Directors Guild of Canada partner on new initiative for Indigenous Directors - ISO-BEA

Toronto – The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) are excited to announce their partnership on the launch of the ISO-DGC Director Fellowship Program. Through the program, Indigenous Directors will be placed on participating episodic productions as Director Fellows and actively observe the episodic directing process of a Mentor Director throughout pre-production, the shoot and post-production. 

Following the successful pilot placements of four Indigenous Director Fellows on three series, including The Handmaid’s Tale (HULU), Three Pines (PRIME VIDEO/SONY) and Little Bird (CRAVE/APTN LUMI), the ISO is now launching a full program open to eligible Indigenous Directors and productions in Canada. Applications for Director Fellows open June 23, 2022. 

The ISO-DGC Director Fellowship Program is designed to empower Indigenous Directors to secure directing jobs in episodic scripted television by introducing key decision-makers to the dynamic, diverse and deep talent pool of Indigenous Directors in Canada and offering Director participants the experience, skills, and industry connections necessary to succeed. The program is designed for emerging Directors who have demonstrated success in directing feature films, shorts, or web series and are ready to step into episodic television.

“Indigenous directors are eager to tell stories through episodic television in Canada and this partnership creates new access points to level the playing field and open doors,”said Kerry Swanson, Co-Executive Director of the ISO. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the DGC on building this new pathway.”

“For emerging Directors, on-set experience is an invaluable way to learn the nuances of episodic directing,” says Tracey Deer, DGC Vice President and Director Mentor on Three Pines. “The DGC is excited to play a role in developing these opportunities for Indigenous Directors by creating a seamless way for productions to tap into the breadth of Indigenous talent in Canada.” 

Elements of the Director Fellowship Program include professional development workshops, a paid on-set Director Fellowship, and ongoing support from the ISO and DGC.

Speaking about her experience on The Handmaid’s Tale, Director Fellow Jessie Anthony said, “Having the opportunity to be mentored by Director Dana Gonzales and the cast and crew of Handmaid’s Tale has changed my life. I learned so much, and I’m absolutely inspired, motivated and passionate about the next level of my career as a Director.” 

Other Director Fellows have included: Darlene Naponse, who worked alongside Director Tracey Deer on Three Pines, and JJ Neepin and Adeline Bird who were paired with Directors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Zoe Hopkins respectively on Little Bird. 

Host series will be DGC signatory productions with Fellow applications open to both DGC Members and non-members. Directors can apply through the ISO and eligible applicants will be placed on an Indigenous Director Talent Roster from which participating productions can select a Director Fellow. The Producers and the Director Mentors will take an active role in the selection of each Fellow.