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Amazon Studios pitch participants announced

Press Release

The ISO partnered with Amazon Studios to provide Canadian Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour screen-content creators the opportunity to develop a half-hour scripted or unscripted series pitch in English for presentation to executives for Amazon Prime Video.

ISO worked with the Black Screen Office on the pitch program and with our community of collaborators to ensure extensive outreach, including with REMC, BIPOC TV & Film and Canada’s film festivals and organizations serving Indigenous and racialized screen creators.

Ten projects led by BIPOC creators have been selected by representatives of Amazon Studios and the Indigenous Screen Office.

Each of the selected project teams received $10,000 CAD for development of their pitch, which they will present to executives from Amazon Studios during a two-day pitch event held May 11 and 12.

The recipients of the grants are:

Scripted Project Creators

Gail Maurice

  • Gail Maurice grew up in a Métis village in Northern Saskatchewan and is the founder of Assini Productions, focused on Indigenous stories with strong female characters. She is also an actress and will shoot her first feature film this summer. Previous projects include Rosie, Assini, Until we meet again, Thirst, Smudge, Memory in Bones and Little Indians.

Maninder Chana

  • Chana is an award-winning writer and director with 30 international awards, including 11 for Best Film and 4 for Best Director. Previous projects include Scratch, Little Terrors and Cell 213. Singhdale is produced by Jag Dhaliwal, Gurjeet Mann, and Bill Marks.

Andrea Scott

  • Andrea is a native of London, ON. Her first play, Eating Pomegranates Naked, won the RBV Arts Professional Award. Other projects include Better Angels: A Parable and Don’t Talk To Me Like I’m Your Wife. Andrea also wrote 13 episodes of My Paranormal Nightmare and was the Story Editor for the CBC/BET production The Porter, debuting this year.

Amber-Sekowan Daniels, Asia Youngman, and Adeline Bird

  • Amber-Sekowan Daniels is an Aninishinew screenwriter and comedian raised in Winnipeg. She served as story editor for seasons 1 and 2 of the CBC series Trickster and co-wrote an episode of Diggstown.
  • Asia Youngman is a Cree/Metis/Haudenosaunee award-winning director and screenwriter from Vancouver. Previous projects include This Ink Runs Deep, HATHA and N’Xaxaitk.
  • Adeline Bird is an Afro/Anishinaabe author, filmmaker and producer from Winnipeg and a member of Treaty #4 Rolling River First Nations. She has produced segments for daytime television hit shows such as The Social and Etalk and directed the short film Nappy Hair and Eagle Feather.

Ziad Touma

  • Quebec based, Ziad, is a Lebanese Canadian award-winning producer, director and writer. Previous projects include Ghost Town Anthology, City Dreamers, The Sound of Trees, Kuessipan and Before the Streets.

Unscripted Project Creators

Alan Poon and Garry Tutte

  • Alan Poon is a writer and director, named one of the Top 10 Cinematographers to Watch by Variety Magazine in 2018. He has worked as a cinematographer for 15 years and as a Director for the past 10. Previous projects include The Bodybuilder and I and Kodachrome.
  • Garry Tutte is a documentary filmmaker, creative director and editor for broadcast projects with Discovery Channel, CBC, DisneyXD, Global and TVO. Recently, he edited the CBC series Humour Resources.

Wendell G. Collier, Eva Thomas, Ryan McMahon

  • Wendell G. Collier is a Toronto-based filmmaker and member of Miawapukek First Nation. He recently completed the documentary film Sober House: A Sign of Change in Cree Nation, nominated for a Rockie Award at the Banff World Media Festival 2020.
  • Eva Thomas is a writer, editor and producer, member of the Walpole Island First Nation. She has participated in multiple Film Labs, and Programs and projects such as Dwayne Has Issues and Clarice.
  • Ryan McMahon is an Anishinaabe comedian, writer, media maker and community activator from Treat #3 territory. His podcast, Thunder Bay, has been recommended by recognized outlets such as The Globe and Mail, New York Times, The New Yorker, The Toronto Star.

Natalie Preddie and Ernest Bio

  • Natalie Preddie is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer and recognized media personality for TV shows including Cityline, CTV Your Morning and The Morning Show. She is an outspoken advocate for the BIPOC movement, featured on panels, print media and broadcast across the country.
  • Ernest Bio is a storyteller, explorer and producer, Founder and CEO of the film, television and digital media studio Presidio Pictures, centring on BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and senior/elder narratives.

Jessie Anthony and Hayley Gray

  • Jessie Anthony is a Haudenosaunee woman from the Onondaga Nation, born and raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario. Jessie is a Telefilm Talent to Watch winner for her first feature film, Brother, I Cry. She is currently in post/production with the series Querencia and has produced shorts and music videos.
  • Hayley Gray is a Vancouver-based production manager, producing, writing and directing scripted, documentary and music videos throughout her career. Her current projects include the documentary Unarchived and the feature narrative Dry Year.

Marlene Ginader

  • Marlene is a native from Brandon, MB. She is the co-writer of The Bliss Factor, and It’s Not What You Think!. Marlene previously worked as an actor and received a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance for her turn as Tinkerbell of Bad Hat’s Theatre’s Peter Pan.

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