seven indigenous filmmakers in canada that you need to know

Here are seven Indigenous filmmakers located across Canada that you need to explore!

By: Sophia Lin

With National Indigenous Peoples Day around the corner, we are spotlighting some of the incredible Canadian Indigenous filmmakers in the business today. Working as directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors, these talented artists have lent their skills and unique voices to some of the best work in Canadian film.

1. Tracey Deer

Tracey Deer is a Mohawk director and screenwriter. In her words, she seeks to better the world “one frame at a time.” Her feature film Beans (2020), is a coming-of-age tale set during the Oka Crisis. Recently, it was screened and honoured at the Toronto International Film Festival.


Additionally, her work was screened at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. As well, she has been broadcasted on CBC. With her own production company, Mohawk Princess Productions, Deer plans to produce fiction shorts.

seven indigenous filmmakers from canada that you need to know

2. Jeff Barnaby

A Mi’kmaq filmmaker from Quebec, Barnaby has two acclaimed feature films under his belt. His first film, Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013), premiered at TIFF. It tells a harrowing story in the context of the residential school system.


A year later, Barnaby was contacted by the National Film Board of Canada. They reached out for him to film a short documentary. His film Blood Quantum  (2019) showcasing Mi’kmaq voices, putting a twist on the classic zombie genre.

seven indigenous filmmakers

3. Loretta Todd

Loretta Todd began in TV and documentary work, before getting into directing. Her debut narrative feature was Monkey Beach in 2020. Adapted from Eden Robinson’s eponymous novel, it opened to much acclaim at the Vancouver International Film Festival.


She is a filmmaker of mixed Cree-Métis and European ancestry and has worked in a variety of media, including animation and interactive. In 1998, she received a lifetime achievement award from the Taos Talking Pictures Festival.

seven indigenous filmmakers in canada that you need to know

4. Bretten Hannam

Hannam is a Two-Spirit L’nu screenwriter and director. With their latest film Wildhood (2021), they sought to tell a never-before-seen Two-Spirit story of a young man rediscovering himself. He embarks on a road trip through Eastern Canada and reconnects with his heritage. It received six Canadian Screen Award nominations, marking a historic moment for queer BIPOC Canadian artists.


Their work, both shorts and feature-length, focuses around themes of community, culture, and LGBTQ+ identity, and has been honoured at festivals around North America.

seven indigenous filmmakers in canada

5. Amanda Strong

A multiple award-winning Michif filmmaker, Strong’s work lies mainly in the realms of stop-motion, animation, and virtual reality. She takes an interdisciplinary, multi-layered approach to her work, creating some of the most innovative projects out there — including Biidaaban (2018) and Four Faces of the Moon (2016).


Her production company Spotted Fawn Productions is a large part of her mission to reclaim Indigenous histories, lineage, and culture.

seven indigenous filmmakers from canada you need to know

6. Danis Goulet

Sundance, Berlin International Film Festival, and MoMA have all screened many of Danis Goulet’s films. Of Cree-Métis descent, she is one of the foremost emerging Indigenous filmmakers today. Most recently, she won the TIFF Emerging Talent Award with her debut feature Night Raiders (2021). 


She got her foot in the door as a casting coordinator, then dove into the directing side of the industry. By doing so, she honed creative control over Indigenous stories. In 2021, she completed production on a thriller film for Netflix.

seven indigenous filmmakers in canada you need to know

7. Christopher Auchter

Chris Auchter grew up in Haida Gwaii, BC. An animator, illustrator, and documentary filmmaker, his work deeply roots his storytelling in the Haida people and their land. His 2017 short, The Mountain of SGaana (2017), creatively combined traditional animation with elements of Haida art.

The films he creates are often hailed as innovative and integrative. How People Got Fire (2009) was an animation film he made, entirely using charcoal, for the National Film Board of Canada.

seven indigenous filmmakers in canada


These seven Indigenous filmmakers are incredibly influential in the Canadian film industry. Their work is redefining Canadian film and we cannot wait to see what stories they share next.

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8 great lgbtq+ filmmakers

Film has been home to queer and LGBTQ+ people, visibly or not, for the entirety of its history. Here are eight LGBTQ+ filmmakers still paving the way today!

8 great lgbtq+ filmmakers

By: Kennedy Randall

From pioneering gay director John Waters, to Canadian LGBTQ+ filmmakers making waves in the film festival scene, trans filmmakers, and queer filmmakers of colour, here are eight LGBTQ+ filmmakers to check out.

1. John Waters

With a wide variety of work, John Waters’ iconic musicals and comedies have gained a cult following since the 1970s. He is the man behind the original Hairspray (1988) which found even further popularity as a Broadway musical. His fabulous sense of humour continued with classics like Cry-Baby (1990) and Serial Mom (1994). 

One of the first openly LGBTQ+ filmmakers, Waters has inspired many filmmakers through his oeuvre. His creativity doesn’t end with moving images either; he experiments with photo-based art and installations. 

john waters

2. Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. His work spans from arthouse film to hit twist-filled television as producer and director of FOX’s Empire and Star. His 2009 film Precious, went on to receive great critical acclaim and received nominations at the Academy Awards, Screen Actor Guild Awards, and many more.

Growing up, Daniels had pushback from his father about being gay, with many of those experiences inspiring the narrative of Precious. Though his father did not provide emotional support, Daniels’ grandmother supported him and his career. 

lee daniels

3. Xavier Dolan

French-Canadian actor and director Xavier Dolan has gained international acclaim for exploring complicated relationships between friends and family, often revealing the ingrained homophobia present in society. He was born in Quebec, Canada and has been busy making 9 films in his 11-year career. His Canadian LGBTQ+ films have received widespread recognition, in particular his 2009 film J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother) which he wrote, starred in, and directed.


With a semi-autobiographical narrative, I Killed My Mother explores the love-hate relationship between a young man discovering his homosexuality and his mother. The film’s coming-of-age narrative reveals the raw experience of growing up gay in a thought-provoking film style.

xaiver dolan

4. Kimberly Peirce

Prominent American indie filmmaker Kimberly Peirce operates through a feminist lens in her directing, writing, and producing. Her first feature film Boys Don’t Cry (1999) analyses the life and tragic death of a trans man, Brendon Teena. 

She went on to direct an episode of the popular series The L Word, influenced by her own experiences being openly lesbian. Throughout her career, Peirce has remained a prominent activist with many other LGBTQ+ filmmakers for feminist movements and beyond.

kimberly peirce

5. Chase Joynt

Trans and gender diverse individuals haven’t always been represented in a fair light. The documentary film lens can sometimes be inaccurate portraying some things as true. Further, often the individuals on-screen are not involved behind the lens. Trans Canadian filmmaker Chase Joynt aimed to remedy these issues in his documentary Framing Agnes (2022) which explores the buried case files from a 1950 study led by sociologist Harold Garfinke at UCLAl.

In Framing Agnes, a cast of trans actors turn a talk show inside out to confront the legacy of a trans woman (Agnes) being forced to choose between honesty and access. The documentary-turned-feature film defies genre boundaries and was screened at Sundance 2022 and Hot Docs 2022. Though Joynt was the only transgender director featured this year at Hot Docs, Framing Agnes achieves their mission of widening trans history and getting trans voices heard.

6. Dee Rees

Screenwriter and director, Dee Rees started her career with the feature film Pariah (2011), which went on to gain international acclaim. Inspired by her own experience as a queer filmmaker of colour, Pariah follows a young black woman named Alke. The main character grapples with her sexuality and the world’s response to it. The movie won many awards, notably the N.A.A.C.P Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture. Also, her series Bessie with Queen Latifah earned an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie.

Rees also acknowledges the need and desire for content aimed specifically at black consumers. She has said “We’re the consumers and we’re the producers” which she expresses in her LGBTQ+ and black characters, creating an intersectional picture of contemporary experience in America. 

dee rees

7. Isabel Sandoval

Recently, trans Filipina filmmaker Isabel Sandoval has made a splash in the indie film scene. In 2019, she was the first transgender woman of colour to compete at the Venice Film Festival with her feature Lingua Franca. This film, starring Sandoval herself, follows an undocumented Filipina trans woman who falls in love in Brooklyn. Lingua Franca was bought by Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY and released on Netflix, bringing Sandoval a widespread audience and recognition. 


As a trans filmmaker, she is trying to bring trans characters and narratives out of the periphery. In so doing, Sandoval creates layered, complex and multi-dimensional characters who convey the reality of living as a trans individual in our political climate. 

isabel sandoval

8. Goran Stolevski

Macedonian-Australian filmmaker Goran Stolevski took the 2022 Sundance Film Festival by storm with his feature debut You Won’t Be Alone. His folk horror film brings together questions of genre, queerness, and human connection in 19th century Macedonia. At Sundance, Stolevski took home Best International Short.


Stolveski often favours female protagonists and outsider perspectives. In You Won’t Be Alone, a young witch shape shifts and learns how to be human in the 1800s. Informed by his experience as a queer filmmaker, Stolveski’s work meditates on feeling out of place. However, he reminds us that we are never truly alone. 

goran stolevski


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become a vfx artist

Wondering how to become a VFX artist? We have everything you need to know about how to learn VFX compositing and make your mark in the industry!

become a vfx artist

By: Kennedy Randall

Visual effects (VFX) makes up the computer-generated images that you see on the screen. Whether it’s the monster that comes out from under the bed, the epic good vs. evil superhero battles, or the dinosaurs in Jurassic World, these characters and scenes come alive through VFX. And this is true in all forms of media in the entertainment industry today. Not only do blockbuster movies need visual effects, but so do advertisements, commercials, TV series, and more. 

Pursuing a career in VFX means you are creative, handy with technology, and looking to tell visual stories. There are many different roads you could take in the VFX industry. In this guide on how to become a VFX artist, we’ll tell you what VFX artists do, where VFX artists work, and VFX artist salary. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about a career in VFX. 

Compositing for Visual Effects | InFcous Film School

Click here to learn more about InFocus Film School’s Compositing for Visual Effects Program

What Do VFX Artists Do?

VFX is a wide term to describe artists who use computer software to create computer generated images (CGI) that are unable to be captured by a camera. These digital assets are combined with live action shots and are integrated into most movies and television shows nowadays. 

Within this broad umbrella of VFX, there are dozens of different roles that are employed at the studio, which we will go over in a moment. This is called the VFX pipeline, which is the process of different VFX roles who work together to make computer generated images and bring all these different elements to life on screen. If you become a VFX artist, there are many different roles you could undertake. 

Below, we have outlined some of the roles that make the VFX pipeline run smoothly.


Types of VFX Work

become a vfx artist

1. Previsualist

Firstly a previsualist, you will create 3D animated versions of film storyboards. You need to know how to use 3D software to create the director’s vision. 

2. Concept Artists

Concept artists take a brief, prepared by the client or a supervisor, and turn that into something that can come alive on screen. They guide the rest of the pipeline artists as they create the movie. 


To create the environment on screen, modellers create the objects, characters, and landscapes in 3D. You will have to know how to model just about anything, because your projects will vary! Modellers need immense flexibility and skill.

4.Texture Artists

After the models are created, texture artists apply shaders to the mesh, which is the primary structural build of a 3D model. This is a time consuming process, as this is what makes the models look realistic on screen. Use your patience and skill to work with the rest of your team to create a realistic end result. 

5. Riggers

From there, riggers take a model and build the character’s skeleton so it can be animated and move on screen. You will bridge the work between the modeller and the animator, making sure that the animator can create visuals that move realistically from the model. 

become a vfx artist

6. Matte Painters

Matte painters work from the concept artist’s work to create realistic environments for the animations to be integrated on seamlessly.

7. 3D Animator

At this stage, it is passed to the 3D animator who takes a character and object and makes it come live! Because this is a hefty job, some studios spread out the types of animation across different roles like junior animators, assistant animators, stop motion animators, and many more

8. Technical Directors

Technical directors (TD), then use special effects to create effects such as explosions, water, debris, and more. There are also lighting TDs who replicate realistic lighting in the shots. There are also rendering TDs, who ensure that everything is running smoothly on the computer end of the pipeline. 

9. Compositor

The compositor puts all of these elements together, using a keen eye for detail to integrate elements of a shot. Unsurprisingly, this takes a lot of patience and time to figure out solutions to get all the various elements of the pipeline to work together. 

10. Roto Artist

Roto artists work alongside the compositor to create the mattes they need. These artists are huge team players, making everyone’s lives easier. Many compositors begin as roto artists, meaning this is a role you can move up from!

11. Pipeline TD

Finally, there is a pipeline TD who is a team player, overseeing the entire pipeline and making it run efficiently and smoothly. You need to know how to troubleshoot the entire pipeline, using knowledge of each position and how they work together in order to solve problems that may arise. 


Where do VFX Artists Work?

VFX artists work wherever entertainment industries are found. VFX artists either work with a studio or freelance, working on things from games, film and television. This is especially common in major city centres that have companies looking for VFX artists. The first places people think of are Los Angeles and London but prestigious studios exist everywhere. There is WetaFX in New Zealand or Animal Logic in Sydney, Australia. 

You also might be surprised to learn Canada also has many VFX studios, mainly located in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. The VFX industry in Vancouver (otherwise called Hollywood North) is booming, with many companies growing and relocating to the area. There are also many opportunities to study in these VFX hubs, with courses like this 6-month program that can set you up for success in the VFX industry and become a VFX artist.

Sony Pictures Imageworks is one of Vancouver’s largest VFX and animation studios. With opportunities to work on movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Spiderman, keep your eyes posted for job listings once you learn VFX and compositing

Industry Light and Magic (ILM) is a visual effects studio located in Vancouver that has worked on Marvel Universe films like Infinity War, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnraok and more. Further, DNEG (Double Negative) is a star in the VFX Vancouver world. They have won a slew of awards including 5 Academy Awards, 5 Bafta Awards, and 11 Visual Effects Society Awards.

A city like Vancouver is a great place to become a VFX artist, full of opportunities and impressive companies. 

As well, Montreal has many companies like Digital Domain, Mill Film and Mr. X Inc, which has offices in both Montreal and Toronto. Canada’s VFX industry is booming, and there is no better place to get your career started!


What is a VFX Artist’s Salary?

When considering how to become a VFX artist, you may be wondering how much do VFX artists earn? According to Glassdoor, Vancouver’s VFX industry is paying well! A VFX artist’s salary in Vancouver is around $57,179 and is predicted to rise. Across Canada, the average VFX artist salary is $55,741, meaning wherever you go in Canada, VFX is booming. As the demand for VFX grows, the average Canadian VFX salary increases with it, with expected growth in the next couple years. 

become a vfx artist

Why are VFX Artists in Demand?

Nowadays, VFX artists are in high demand and continue to be as our world becomes increasingly digitized. Most of the movies and television shows nowadays use VFX and this will increasingly continue to be the case. As well, VFX artists are needed now outside of the entertainment industry, in advertisements, various commercial companies, and more. 

With this in mind, VFX is a highly employable industry and it will continue to be for years to come. Now that it is the standard for visual effects to be used in many films, it will never go away. Rather, it will continue becoming more advanced and creative. If you become a VFX artist, the opportunities where you can work will continue to grow. 

become a vfx artist

Overall, when wondering how to become a VFX artist, there are many different roles and places where you can work. Therefore, all that’s left to do is to master the skills and follow your dreams. Once you learn VFX and compositing, nothing can stop you. Work hard, be persistent, and soon we’ll all see your work on the big screen. 


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