I am a Mohawk filmmaker from Kahnawake and I have been fortunate enough to know that I wanted to work in the media arts ever since I was twelve years old. Much to my delight, that is exactly what I am doing today.
I see filmmaking as an art form that can touch, impact, influence and educate a viewer while at the same time offering an entertaining experience. It can be a very powerful method of expression.
I obtained my bachelor's degree in film studies modified with photography from Dartmouth College in 2000. Since graduation, I have had over ten satisfying years in the documentary industry, working with Rezolution Pictures, Mushkeg Media, The National Film Board, Buffalo Gals Pictures and my own production company, Mohawk Princess Productions. I have four feature documentaries to my credit as well as work on documentary series, television fiction series and the short film genre, many of which have received widespread acclaim.
It all began after graduation when I was awarded a national internship award with CanWest Broadcasting in Montreal. After four months in the busy newsroom, I knew my heart belonged in documentary filmmaking.
I joined Rezolution Pictures soon after to co-direct One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree, with Neil Diamond (Cree), which won the Best Documentary Award at the 2005 Rendez-vous du cinema québécois in Montreal and was nominated for Best Social/Political Documentary at the Geminis.
I next wrote, directed and filmed Mohawk Girls, about the lives of three teenagers, and herself as a teen, growing up in Kahnawake, which won the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award at the 2005 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival.
My next solo documentary, Club Native, focuses on the issues of community membership and blood quantum, and was an official selection of Hot Docs 2008, won the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Documentary at DOXA/Documentary Film and Video Festival, and won additional awards at imagineNative, First Peoples’ Festival (Land InSights) and Weeneebeg Film Festival. I received the 2009 Gemini for best documentary writing and Club Native won the Canada Award, a special Gemini prize for the best multicultural program that year.
I have also teamed up with director Paul Rickard (Cree) of Mushkeg Media to co-write and co-direct a feature documentary for APTN about a grass roots Mohawk language immersion school in Akwesasne called Kanien’kehaka: Living the Language.
I formed Mohawk Princess Pictures in 2006, to produce my first short fiction called Escape Hatch, a dramedy about the romantic misadventures of a Mohawk woman on her quest for love.
In the fall of 2009, I teamed up again with Rezolution Pictures to transform my short Escape Hatch into the pilot Mohawk Girls, the series for APTN. The team is now in development writing 6 scripts for season 1.
I also wrote and directed Crossing the Line, a 2-minute stereoscopic 3-D fiction film that screened as a part of the Cultural Olympiad at Vancouver’s 2010 winter Olympics, produced by The National Film Board and APTN.
In the summer of 2010, I traveled to Winnipeg to direct an episode for APTN’s 3rd season of the casino drama Cashing In, produced by Buffalo Gals and Animiki See Digital Production Inc.
Most recently, I produced, wrote and co-directed the 6-part documentary series Working it Out Together, hosted by Waneek Horn-Miller, produced by Rezolution Pictures for APTN. It is slated to air in the fall of 2011.
I am currently working on writing Beans, her first fiction feature, with co-writer Cynthia Knight, which is a coming of age journey of a young Mohawk girl who struggles between what’s expected of her versus her own choices.
My entire career to date has been dedicated to telling stories from our Aboriginal communities. I feel very fortunate to have had this great honor and I hope my future holds the same opportunities. I’m very passionate about engaging audiences in the unique, beautiful, surprising and at times frustrating reality that is the modern Aboriginal experience.
My goal is to continue making thought-provoking films that capture, celebrate and illustrate facets of our present day realities. I want to fuse the art of filmmaking with the practical objective of creating dialogue that begins on the screen but then continues in the hearts and minds of the audience.
I believe every individual has the power to make our world a better place. I’m trying to do so through storytelling; and my hope is that the stories I share may inspire others to make a positive shift in their own lives.
I believe in building bridges and crossing them. I hope you do too.