Join a panel of SOI alumni filmmakers as they discuss the art of storytelling. What goes into telling a narrative? What are the key components of visual storytelling? How do you tell a story that is not your own?

Tune in as the panelists took a deep dive into filmmaking and answered audience questions!

Nicholas Castel

Nicholas (Co-Director) is an artist, director and presenter based out of Montreal. He has helped realize several documentary films throughout much of Canada and Inuit Nunangat for a variety of different organizations and communities. His hands-on and authentic storytelling often focuses on youth empowerment, conservation and culture. He holds a H.BSc in Geological and Environmental Sciences.

Erinn Drage

Erinn (Co-Director) has a diverse background working in parks and protected areas policy and Indigenous relations throughout Canada. She is an experienced backpacker and guide with a deep love for nature. Erinn is a skilled project kickstarter who strives to encourage others to get outside and connect with both the natural world and with each other.

In early 2017, Nicholas and Erinn, two filmmakers from Trails In Tandem teamed up with a young leader from the Sahtú and the founder of the Canol Youth Leadership Hike to design and execute a documentary project. Together with local governments, businesses and NGO’s, they fundraised for the production of the film and documented the hike the following summer. The project involved recording the trail’s history through archival research, interviews with community elders, and retracing the footsteps of Shúhtagot’ı̨nę ancestors on the land.

The team premiered the film at screenings across Canada to great acclaim, hosting interactive community gatherings and discussions on youth leadership, cross-cultural understanding, and the teachings of the Dene. The film has since landed a broadcast and education deal as well as an award for its direction.

Watch In the Footsteps of our Ancestors here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rc-qzaF80Q

Jimmy Blais

Jimmy is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, he is of Plains Cree and French settler heritage.

Born and raised in Montreal, Jimmy graduated from Concordia’s Theatre Performance Program. He is a seasoned stage and film actor. He has worked professionally for over 10 years, for companies like The Stratford Festival, The Centaur, Geordie Productions, Porte Parole and La Licorne. Jimmy’s most notable tv role was playing Watio for five seasons in APTN’s hit series Mohawk Girls. Jimmy is also a writer, director, mentor and coach. He spent several years as a visiting artist/associate professor at Concordia

University and as a mentor in Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program. He was the Indigenous Artist in Residence for the 2016 Students On Ice Expedition to the Arctic. Jimmy just successfully completed the Indigenous Artist In Residence at The National Theatre School of Canada, where he spent 18 months focusing on creation and playwriting. His play “Sonny’s Way” was presented at Native Earth’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival in Toronto in November 2019. Jimmy recently continued his work in Porte Parole’s The Assembly at The Segal Centre, the National Art Centre and was slated to tour multiple cities in Germany. He is presently working on a new play called Wardo commissioned by Repercussion Theatre as a part of their Words With Will play development series in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts’ Animikiig Creators Unit.

Olivia Rempel

Olivia Rempel is a Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker interested in sustainability and environmental issues.

During her undergrad, she studied journalism and an interdisciplinary program called Environment, Sustainability, and Society at the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University. She later completed a master’s at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, focusing on documentary filmmaking.

She began her career doing logistics and communications for Students on Ice. Later she interned for PBS NOVA, led open-source investigations at the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley Law School, and worked on documentaries that have screened at numerous film festivals around the world, from Los Angeles, California, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In September 2020 Olivia began working at GRID-Arendal, a Norway based UNEP partner, to help grow the Technology and Innovation team’s video and documentary capabilities.

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