Professional Development & Training

Learn about special courses and initiatives led by The Shine Network Institute.

Our philosophy at TSNI is that Indigenous producers, writers, and directors bring a specific lens to the work they create. Not all, but many of the stories we tell are culturally specific and require us to approach the work, our community, and each other differently. At TSNI we endeavour to cultivate safer spaces, foster talent, and build capacity within the screen sector for Indigenous people, with a special focus on women.

Indigenous Producers – Budget Intensive

In partnership with Paramount+ Canada, this 8 module course offers detailed, hands-on learning designed to empower students as they prepare to produce their first feature film.

The course is facilitated by veteran producers Paula Devonshire (Mohawk) and Lori Lozinski who engage in candid conversations that will inspire and motivate students while providing a line by line tutorial of an independent feature film budget.

TV & Film 101

A series of 10 video modules featuring Adeline Bird and Jennifer Podemski, focusing on the basics of the film and television industry.

This interview style series offers answers to some frequently asked questions about careers in the screen sector while providing an intimate view into some of Jennifer and Adeline’s personal experiences. If you are Indigenous and interested in learning more about the film and television business this is the perfect learning experience for you.

Producing Accelerator – Indigenous Lens

Designed for Indigenous producers and content creators to support them in accelerating their careers, this live, 4-day virtual course focused on Show-running, Producing, Writing, Directing & Narrative Sovereignty (Aug, 2022).

Hosted by Jennifer Podemski, 25 emerging & mid-level Indigenous producers from across Canada were selected and received an honorarium. Participants acquired knowledge to support them on their emerging career paths and empower them to imagine what they can create through an Indigenous lens.

Seminars were customized and facilitated by seasoned, industry professionals, providing engaging, skill-enhancing insight into producing, directing, show running, and writing. With a special focus on best practices, proven strategies, and methodologies each session will include active participation, visual references, and other innovative tools to inspire the learning process, leaving each participant with practical tools they can apply in the workplace.

Meet the Speakers


Lori Lozinski

Lori Lozinski is an award-winning filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC and the President of Violator Films Inc. She is recognized for producing socially conscious, character-driven stories with female creatives.

Recent producing collaborations include Kimmapiyiipitssini: The Meaning of EmpathyThe Body Remembers When the World Broke OpenSugar DaddyRETAKEOnce There Was A Winter, and Never Steady, Never Still.
Lori is an alumna of the Canadian Film Centre, Trans Atlantic Partners, Women In The Director’s Chair, and the Rotterdam Lab, and was nominated for the 2019 & 2020 CMPA Indie Screen Awards for Established Producer.

She wrote & directed the short documentary The Pilgrimage and in 2022, the short documentary A Motorcycle Saved My Life will premiere.

Journalist & Filmmaker

Ossie Michelin

Ossie Michelin is an award-winning Labrador Inuk journalist and filmmaker from the community of North West River, now residing in Montreal.

Born and raised in Central Labrador, Ossie is of mixed settler and Inuit descent, with a large Labrador family full of artists and storytellers. His work has appeared on APTN National News, the Guardian, Canadian Geographic, CBC Indigenous, and more.

Last year Ossie released his first documentary film with the National Film Board, Evan’s Drum, about the return of Inuit drum dancing to Labrador, that same year, he launched the award-winning podcast series he wrote and directed called Telling Our Twisted Histories.

Today Ossie is working on a number of film and journalism projects centered around Inuit communities, climate change, and Indigenous sovereignty.


Heather Rae

Heather Rae has produced such films as Academy Award-nominated FROZEN RIVER, Netflix originals TALLULAH AND DUDE, festival darling I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS, award-winning THE DRY LAND, and more recently, BULL, which premiered at Cannes.

Rae has been recognized as one of Variety’s “Producers to Watch” and won the Piaget and Cinereach producers awards. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Producers Branch Executive Committee.

Rae is currently in a First Look deal with Amazon Studios and is an executive producer on the series OUTER RANGE, starring Josh Brolin. Rae also works as a narrative change strategist with the nonprofit organization IllumiNative.

Writer, Director & Showrunner

Sterlin Harjo

Sterlin Harjo is an award-winning Seminole/Muscogee Creek filmmaker from Oklahoma.

He is a founding member of a five-member Native American Comedy group, The 1491s, and is currently in development on various projects.

In addition to his work on Reservation Dogs,” he has directed three narrative feature films and two documentaries. His most recent film was the documentary “Love and Fury,” which is described as a look at contemporary Native identity and art.


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers is a writer, director, producer, and actor. she is a member of the Kanai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot confederacy) and Sámi from Norway. Beginning her career as an actor in 2006 and a filmmaker in 2011, Elle-máijá is a true creative force both in front of and behind the lens.

Her short documentary bihttoš was included in the 2015 tiff top ten shorts and was commissioned for the Imaginenative embargo collective.

With The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, she made her feature co-directorial debut (alongside Kathleen Hepburn), as well as starring in and co-writing.

Indigenous Governance Consultant

Marcia Nickerson

Marcia Nickerson is a leader in Indigenous governance, providing high-level advisory services to Indigenous governments and organizations for 25 years.

Marcia was on the board of imagineNATIVE for 14 years, serving as Board Chair for 8 years, helping to launch the imagineNATIVE Institute and two other Indigenous film festivals in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2017 Marcia worked with several industry partners to create the Indigenous Screen Office. In 2019 Marcia undertook a national consultation process with Indigenous content creators resulting in On Screen Protocols & Pathways: A Media Production Guide to Working with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Communities, Cultures, Concepts, and Stories.


Sonia Boileau

Sonia Boileau is a bilingual Kanien’kehá:ka and Québécois filmmaker who has been working with Nish Media for almost fifteen years to bring Indigenous content to the screen for viewers of all cultural backgrounds.

She first started making documentaries to explore her bicultural heritage and understand the impacts of colonialism. Some of her documentary credits include Last Call Indian, The Oka Legacy, Wapikoni, and Skindigenous. In 2015 Sonia wrote and directed her first feature film Le Dep, a small-budget film that had a surprisingly successful run in festivals, theatres, and on demand.

Her second feature film, Rustic Oracle, was shot in her home community of Kanehsatà:ke, and recently won two Leo Awards, including Best Feature Film. She is currently in preproduction for her first drama series. She is currently in preproduction for her first drama series.


Shannon Masters

Shannon Masters was the story editor for the development of the fourth season of APTN’s MOHAWK GIRLS. After two seasons as Assistant Script Coordinator on Global TV’s INDSPIRE AWARDS, Masters penned the show for four consecutive years.

Masters was a 2021 Participant of BIPOC TV & Film’s Showrunner Bootcamp, a Writer in 2016 Entertainment One Talent Incubator, a Creative Advisor for 2014 ImagineNative Feature Script Development Lab, a 2013 Shaw
Media Writers Apprentice, a participant of 2012 WGC Bell Media’s Diverse
Screenwriters Program, a participant of 2008 Tribeca All Access program, a recipient of 2007 Praxis Centre for Screenwriters Fellowship, and a graduate of CFC’s 2005 Film Resident Writer’s Lab.

Produced in 2012, Masters’ feature EMPIRE OF DIRT began its festival run at TIFF in 2013. That same year Masters was nominated and won the CSA for Best Original Screenplay. She has a feature film and three television series in development. From Saskatchewan, Masters is Cree Métis and Ukrainian and is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario.

Writer & Broadcaster

Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker, and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, he is a Serpent River First Nation member.

Jesse is best known for his 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, and the last 7 as the director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. He has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, the Cultural Summit of the Americas, and numerous Universities and Colleges. Jesse has served on the board of directors of the Toronto Arts Council, The ImagineNative Film and Media Festival, and Native Earth Performing Arts.

He was recently appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, the only First Nations person to hold the position. Jesse is currently finishing his first book for Penguin Random House Canada and was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in February 2018.

Core Activities

Show Running

Sharing their knowledge, experience, and best practices when bringing a show to life, running a writer’s room, working with networks, leading the creative vision, and running the show.


Focus on tax credit calculations (all provinces) financing, legal, and license agreement breakdown with a goal of understanding the role of the producer in the execution and delivery of a TV series.


Director master classes with seasoned Indigenous directors sharing wisdom, trade secrets, and best practices on how to manage the television series apparatus, mastering a visual style, casting, directing actors, and bringing a vision from script to screen.


Experienced Indigenous television writers discuss the process; troubleshooting, best practices, and the writer’s room. Using a mock writers room as an example, writers will interact with the participants throughout the session as they lead them, step by step through the writing process.

Pathways & Protocols

Sharing of Indigenous governance practices and strategies for shifting industry standards to become culturally safe and self-determining environments in the screen sector and for protecting narrative sovereignty.

Narrative Sovereignty

Interactive discussions on Indigenous Narrative Sovereignty, what it is, and how Indigenous creatives and producers can work towards achieving it.

Career Accelerator – Business Affairs & Line Producing

An intensive career accelerator for Indigenous women content producers in the film, television and media space. Indigenous women in pursuit of careers in the film, television and media space experience disproportionate barriers to success. We provided Indigenous women with the tools, skills and resources they need to succeed in this field.

This project brought together 18 Indigenous women content producers working in the film, television and media space, living in GTA, for a four day virtual training program with a focus on Business Affairs. The group gathered via Zoom and worked with professional mentors and special guest speakers who will lead the participants through a variety of topics including: IP (intellectual property), Financing, Budgeting, Development and Tax Credits and Incorporating your Company.

The Business Affairs & Line Producing Career Accelerator was brought to you by The Shine Network Institute and The Fund for Gender Equality. The Fund for Gender Equality is supported by a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada, and the Equality Fund, with Support from the Government of Canada (April 2021).

PACT: Pledge-Activate-Cultivate-Thrive

PACT is a 40-minute online certificate course designed to empower non-Indigenous professionals within the screen sector, with tools, resources and best practices required to foster healthy relationships with Indigenous partners and team members.

This course is designed to improve outcomes for Indigenous people by creating safer, more culturally informed spaces and empowering non-Indigenous producers, funders, broadcasters, unions and creative teams with the tools, resources and best practices that align with Indigenous values and ways of knowing. This course has been funded by the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) in partnership with the National Screen Institute.


Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people are the most under-represented voice in the Canadian screen-based media sector. At The Shine Network Institute, we want to empower them to thrive.

Your donation will help support Indigenous women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people in the Screen Arts Bursary. This bursary is designed to support Indigenous women pursuing higher education and training opportunities in the creative arts, media, television and film.

We are committed to providing Indigenous women with the tools, resources and training that lead to opportunity, advancement and radical transformation of the Canadian film and television landscape.

Our capacity to achieve this depends on the generous support of community members and supporters like you. Your donation will catalyze our mission to address the chronic underrepresentation of Indigenous women in this sector and cultivate more equitable and inclusive spaces for Indigenous women across the screen sector.

Mentorship – Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for mentorship opportunities designed to support Indigenous women. Sign up below to stay informed: