The Great Spirit created a woman, and made her mother of many children. The Great Spirit has affection and sympathy for the woman. And when a woman speaks, she should be highly respected and so her children because they are so precious.”

-Anita Marie Goodene (Cree, age 108)

Katerina Cizek - Dream Magic

Kat Cizek's films have helped launch criminal investigations, changed UN policies, and been screened as evidence at an International Criminal Tribunal. She has also worked in Aboriginal gang territory, investigated a global people-smuggling ring, and directed a series of reports about the battle over water in Central Asia. Recent credits include Seeing Is Believing, about new technologies and human rights (Abraham Prize, Hamptons International Film Festival) and Dead Are Alive: Eyewitness in Rwanda (writer/editor/narrator). Her work has appeared in print, on TV and radio, and online; she is a three-time Gemini nominee and the co-recipient of a 2000 Montreal New Talent Award. Currently, Kat is developing an experimental program for the National Film Board of Canada, Filmmaker-in-Residence, partnering media with medicine to fuel social and political action.

Alanis Obomsawin

2008 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Screens and Voices (formerly Broadcasting and Film))

Film Director/Producer, Educator, Storyteller

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers, a passionate advocate for education and social justice, and a proud defender of Aboriginal culture. As a writer, director and producer she has made more than 30 documentaries on issues affecting Aboriginal people in Canada.

Ms. Obomsawin (her surname means “pathfinder”) was born in New Hampshire in 1932 and grew up on the Odanak Reserve in Quebec. She performed as a singer and storyteller across North America and Europe, raising awareness of Aboriginal history and culture.

In 1967 she began her long affiliation with the National Film Board of Canada, and wrote and directed her first film in 1971. Her credits include Gene Boy Came Home (2007), Waban-Aki: People from Where the Sun Rises (2006), Is the Crown at War with Us? (2002), Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child (1986), Incident at Restigouche (1984), and Mother of Many Children (1977).

Ms. Obomsawin has an enduring interest in education: for the NFB she developed multimedia kits that introduced First Nations culture into classrooms across Canada, and produced and directed the CBC TV educational series Sounds From Our People. She continues to perform as a singer/storyteller in schools, community halls and prisons, and frequently appears on television and at music festivals.

She has served on boards and committees for numerous organizations, including the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, the Canada Council (First Peoples Advisory Board), Studio 1 (the NFB’s Aboriginal studio), the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and National Geographic International.

Awards and honours include Member (1983), promoted to Officer (2002) of the Order of Canada; Luminaria Tribute for Lifetime Achievement, Santa Fe Film Festival (2007); Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2001); more than 30 international film awards; and honorary doctorates from York, Concordia and Carleton Universities and the University of Western Ontario. Toronto’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival created an annual documentary award in her name, and she is the subject of the first book on Native filmmakers, Alanis Obomsawin: The Vision of a Native Filmmaker, by Randolph Lewis (2006).