Toronto, September 14, 2021 – Today, Women in Film and Television Toronto (WIFT Toronto), along with Hollywood Suite are thrilled to announce the list of participants for the inaugural WIFT Indigenous Writers Program. This career accelerator program is designed specifically for Indigenous writers at the mid-stage of their careers to provide them with networking, industry insight training and mentorship opportunities.
The free, intensive four-day program will include two full-time mentors, industry guest speakers, case studies, writing and pitching workshops, and peer-to-peer mentorship. By engaging key partners including industry leaders, experienced creators, writers, broadcasters, funders and more, the program aims to bring the best education and career opportunities to Indigenous creators whose stories need to be heard.
Eva Maria Thomas
Eva Thomas is a writer, producer and story editor. She is a member of Walpole Island First Nation which is located in Southwestern Ontario; she is also Tohono O’odham, Cherokee and Scottish. Eva was selected for the 2018 LA SKINS Native American Feature Film Lab in Los Angeles, the 2019 Telefilm Talent-to-Watch Program, the 2020 Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative. Eva and writer Darren Anthony were selected for the 2020 NSI Totally Television Program for the project Dwayne Has Issues – currently in development with CBC. And most recently, Eva was one of five women selected for the Women in View – Five in Focus: Indigenous. She participated in the inaugural imagineNATIVE & Harold Greenberg Fund (HGF) Indigenous Story Editing Mentorship. As a story editor/mentor, Eva has worked with writers in the imagineNATIVE Screenwriting Intensive, the Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Mentorship Program, and the Women in Film and Television - Vancouver’s Tricksters & Writers Program. She is currently working with a number of writers as story editor and producer. Eva graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Communication and Broadcasting. After university,she attended the Webber Douglas Dramatic Arts Academy in London, England and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Eva earned a Masters of Arts degree in American Indian Studies from UCLA; she is just completed a Director’s Assistant Mentee position on Darlene Naponse’s feature film Stellar and currently working on Gail Maurice’s feature film “Rosie” as Director Shadow &Trainee Coordinator.
To fight off the COVID blues that affected the film industry, Jose Marianne Proulx attended Chefs School. Before her filmmaking career, Jose Marianne was a journalist, a technical writer, a translator, and a barista. She spent 20 years researching her family’s rich traditions. She is the coordinator of a budding Abenaki language revitalization project.
Promise Holmes Skinner
Promise is a criminal defence lawyer, the Aboriginal Law Program Coordinator, and as of very recently, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. There, I develop and facilitate academic, experiential and extra-curricular programming for Aboriginal law students and Aboriginal youth; I counsel current Aboriginal law students; and recruit prospective students. As a lawyer, I currently act as Duty Counsel, assisting Aboriginal people charged with criminal offences who do not have a private lawyer. As an Adjunct Professor, I co-teach a course,Aboriginal People and Canadian Criminal Justice, with a senior Aboriginal lawyer.
Cree poet Wanda John-Kehewin uses writing as a therapeutic medium through which to understand and to respond to the near decimation of First Nations culture, language, and tradition. She has two poetry books published by Talonbooks, two children’s readers and is publishing a graphic novel in late 2022. She finds time to write between the lines. She calls Coquitlam her home, until the summertime when she treks to the plains of Alberta to visit family and learn more about Cree culture and tradition. She is currently in her first year of her MFA at UBC.
Devin Edwards is a writer, editor, artist,and all-round geek living in Toronto. When he isn’t writing, painting, or playing video games; he helps to run a tech start-up, Alo Solutions, as Director of Operations. Previously, he spent 8 years as a technical writer,writing all manner of technical guides, release notes, and process documentation. A lover of sci-fi and fantasy, Devin Edwards happily pens novels, short stories, flash fiction, poems, screenplays, essays, and articles for almost every genre.
Elizabeth Denny is a Métis writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has been writing for several years and has credits in various genres. Her first book, a children’s story entitled Jenneli’s Dance,was published in 2008 by Theytus Books. I have also written for three national television productions with the APTN Network: Tipi Tales, Wapos Bay and Cashing In.
Eva Grant (she/they) is based on the unceded territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ and Lək̓ Wəŋən peoples. She is a member of the St'át'imc First Nation with patrilineal roots in Skatin, and of mixed Eurasian heritage on her mother’s side. She is a recent graduate of Stanford University’s Comparative Literature Program. Last year Eva worked at Sundance’s feature development program and currently serves as the associate producer for the CBC Radio adaptation of the graphic novel, This Place, hosted by Rosanna Deerchild. An avid writer, Eva’s most recent storytelling projects have been supported by the Indigenous Screen Office, the Whistler Film Festival, the Shine Network, New Constellations, and URBAN x INDIGENOUS.