Terry Coyote Aleck
Originally from Lytton First Nation, Terry trained as a family and addictions counsellor. In 1987, he began his healing and training to conduct ceremonies as a sacred pipe carrier. Terry has received his learning from many elders and medicine men and women. Through First Nations Teachings, he co-facilitates a men’s group and drum-making workshops, leads drumming circles and sweat lodge ceremonies, and drums in schools on the Sunshine Coast. Terry was involved directly in bringing to light the personal and societal issues concerning the legacy of the Residential School System by reporting his abuser to the RCMP in 1987. Legal proceedings resulted in a landmark case to hold the government and church liable for sexual abuse in the 1960s and 70s. Clean and sober for 33 years, in all his endeavours, Terry works with gratitude, compassion, humility, humour, and “all my relations’ in the spirit of healing. He is a well-respected bridge builder between Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.
Wenecwtsin, Wayne Christian
Of Secwepemc ancestry, Wayne M. Christian’s Indian name, Wenecwtsin, is from his great grandfather, which means Big Voice that Speaks the Truth. A proud father of seven children and 27 grandchildren, HisKukpi7 (Chief) Christian was elected at the age of 25 and served as Chief for over 40 years.
He established healing and health systems for the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia and led two historic initiatives fighting for the recognition of Indigenous laws and jurisdictions for land, resources, and people. He is also known for his legacy work for children; the 1980 Indian Child Caravan and the 1980-1981 Constitution Express. Wenecwtsin’s leadership philosophy is based on inclusiveness, spirituality, traditional knowledge rooted in oral history, and a strong belief that Sovereign land title and rights are governed by Indigenous laws, values, culture, traditions and connection with all of creation.
“Whatever it takes, the time is now. We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
hiwus, Calvin Craigan
hiwus means "Chief', a name given to hiwus Calvin Craigan long before he stepped into his father's shoes as hereditary Chief in 1974, becoming the youngest elected Indigenous Chief in Canada at that time. Born into a long line of leaders, hiwus helped charter the shíshálh Nation’s historic path toward self-governance in 1986, a legacy that bridged the gap between tradition and modernity. Decades later, hiwus served his Nation for another term while in his 70s. An oral knowledge keeper, Winter Spirit Dancer, and former political talk show host, Calvin Craigan has dedicated his life to bringing Indigenous issues to the forefront of public consciousness. His dream for his People is to live on the land like their ancestors did...with access to the internet!
x wu’ p’ a’ lich, Barbara Higgins
In loving memory (March 1933—November 2023)
xwu’p’a’lich means “she weaves” which is what xwu’p’a’lich Barbara Higgins does as she crafts the narrative fabric of Indigenous knowledge and wisdom into published books and poems. As a child, xwu’p’a’lich was hidden by her family and not forced into the Residential School System. Barbara Higgins has dedicated her life to teaching the traditional ways of her ancestors, following her great-grandmother's guidance to live as a shíshálh Rememberer. After years of teaching adult education in the Northwest Territories, and fostering 27 children, she moved back to ch’atlich on the Sunshine Coast, where she is known and loved for her environmental activism as a protector of trees - the standing people. Barb urges us all to protect Mother Earth with reverence. “I’ve got no intention of being a rebel,” she says, “I’m just me.” She views everyone as “extended family,” and encourages us all to paddle together. Barb’s eleven-person canoe is named S-yewens Ihems Sila, which means The Spirit of our Grandmothers.
Kawaya7, Ecko Aleck - Featured Participant, Co-Writer, Producer, Composer
Ecko is a Nlaka’pamux artist, founder and CEO, raised with the shíshálh Nation and currently living on Pentlatch (Qualicum) Nation lands. Ecko is a modern-day shape-shifter with digital arts, a storyteller through movement and a medicine woman of the heart. On her mission to support all people and the planet to return to a natural rhythm of well-being, Ecko has gathered a toolkit of knowledge that she carries forward into the ever-evolving transformation of her healing journey and her business, Sacred Matriarch Creative. Since the launch of SMC, she has won multiple awards for speaking dreams into existence.
Eva Anandi Brownstein - Cinematographer
Eva Anandi is a Documentary Filmmaker based in Coast Salish territory. Raised between the mountains of Northern India and BC, her diverse interests led her through a wide range of media landscapes – from lensing feature documentaries to schlepping gear for ski films to creating media for social impact across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Eva holds a BA in Anthropology and a graduate degree in Communications. Her work has screened at Hot Docs, TIFF, VIFF, and DOXA, among others. In her role as Director and Cinematographer, she finds inspiration in giving voice to underrepresented peoples and sharing stories of resilience.
Özgün Gündüz - Associate Producer
Özgün is a Turkish-Canadian emerging documentary producer and DOC BC YT NT board member based in unceded Coast Salish territories. She holds a BA in sociology and political science and an MBA graduate degree. Before transitioning into documentary producing in 2021, she worked at global media and research agencies for over a decade. Özgün was among the 10 emerging producers selected for CMPA’s 2021 Producers Mentorship program. Her first short documentary, Weltschmerz (2021) received support from TELUS and screened at international festivals. She is currently producing her second documentary, Burcu’s Angels, which is selected for DOXA’s Kris Anderson Mentorship Program.
Tamar Kozlov - Additional Cinematography & Stills Photographer
Tamar Kozlov is an independent filmmaker whose work focuses on Indigenous rights and culture, the arts and plants. Starting acting at a young age Tamar received two daytime Emmy awards recognitions for her 25-year-long role as Prunella on the Peabody award-winning children’s series “Arthur”. But acting was only the entrance into the world of filmmaking as her passion shifted to documentary film while at Carleton University’s School of Journalism. She received a Hot Docs Emerging Filmmakers Scholarship, a Heritage BC Award of Excellence and an Interpretation Canada Bronze Medal while pursuing passion projects and committing to use film to better the world. She is a long-time collaborator with the shíshálh Nation.
Liz Marshall - Co-Writer, Director, Producer, Executive Producer, Cinematographer
Working with diverse teams and communities, funders and influencers, Canadian filmmaker Liz Marshall has written, directed, produced and filmed multiple impactful documentary projects around the globe since the 1990s. Motivated by the transformative language of film and television, her award-winning work is exhibited and reviewed widely. Born and raised in Toronto, Liz is a settler of mixed European descent grateful to be living and working by the sea in Gibsons, British Columbia, the unceded homelands of the shíshálh and sḵwx̱wú7mesh Peoples. Dedicated to truth seeking, bridge building, and to making visible that which is hidden, Liz’s feature-length work includes Meat the Future (2020) Midian Farm (2018) The Ghosts in Our Machine (2013) Water on the Table (2010.)
Inder Nirwan — Cinematographer
Inder has a lifelong passion for filmmaking, which began at age 8. After graduating from Vancouver Film School with honors, he has worked with various media including film and television, commercials, and video games. Inder spent over a decade in brand storytelling at Lush Cosmetics, where he created and produced hundreds of videos for millions of viewers. Through documentary filmmaking Inder has raised awareness for social, environmental, and animal welfare issues and has contributed to meaningful impact through his work.
Eddie O - Editor
Eddie made a name for himself as a Senior Editor in Paris, France before immigrating to Vancouver in 1987. Though he’s worked on a variety of projects - commercials, fiction, episodic and sports television - documentaries have always been his passion. Since making his first film at 13, he’s dedicated much of his life to exploring new ways of telling stories with image, sound, words and rhythm. Documentary editorial credits include Java Jive (Golden Sheaf and Leo Nominations) • I am MLK JR (Leo Award Best Editing Documentary Feature) • British Columbia an Untold History (Leo Award Best Editing Documentary Series).
Diana Parry - Cinematographer
Diana Parry is an award-winning cinematographer based out of Vancouver. Her focus is narrative content having shot several short films which have screened at VIFF, New York International Children’s Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, and the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the American Film Pavilion at Cannes. Alongside scripted work, Diana has done short documentary work, some of which with the National Film Board and Telus. As seen by her credentials, she prioritizes powerful stories from diverse cultural and gender perspectives. Diana’s next project is a Crave Original set to begin production in Colombia and Canada in late 2023.
Patti Poskitt - Line Producer
Patti is a veteran producer with over 40 years of experience. Patti brings to independent producers/directors and broadcasters the security of complete project financing. Patti has extensive experience in all aspects of production and she has numerous credits and awards in all genres of programming. Patti manages production scheduling, business affairs and bank financing, including budget creation and management, cost reporting, tax credits and funding applications. In recent years her focus has been on providing these services to Indigenous filmmakers across Canada.
Kwamanchi, Alfonso Salinas - Featured Participant, Co-Writer, Producer, Field Producer
Alfonso is a shíshálh Nation member and the Traditional Wellness Coordinator for the Nation. In his role, he creates programs to practice shíshálh traditions and opportunities for those who want to pass down their gifts. Alfonso received his drum from his grandfather in 2009 to become a song carrier. A graduate of the Indigenous Filmmaker program at Capilano University, Alfonso worked for the shíshálh communications department and produced the “Voices of shíshálh” TV series. Later, he became a guide in Stanley Park teaching visitors the history and traditions of Coast Salish people. Alfonso continues to document important events for the Nation today.
Charlene SanJenko - Featured Participant, Co-Writer, Producer, Impact Producer
Charlene is an Indigenous Storyteller, Impact Producer, and Media Visionary. Born in the Splatsin Band of the Shuswap Nation, Charlene believes in creating from a place of collective genius, celebrating cohesive partnerships that bring stories of hope and possibility alive. Charlene leads a team at reGEN media who is introducing a new approach to align progressive creative projects with strong brands with the intent of striking partnerships and investment to propel lasting success for all involved. She holds a solid reputation in the social impact space with a former corporate background in investment services, marketing & communications, and impact production.
Paul Shoebridge - Designer - Titles, Credits, Poster, Website
Paul Shoebridge is a Vancouver-based creative whose award-winning design and art direction includes interactive documentaries (Welcome to Pine Point/NFB; The Ghosts in Our Machine), and books (The Book of Darryl / MCD books; I Live Here/ Random House.) Paul is a former Art Director of Adbusters Magazine.
Oscar Vargas - Dialogue Editor, Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer
Oscar Vargas is a Venezuelan sound designer, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer established in Vancouver, Canada. His audio career started in 2006 in Venezuela when he started his own recording studio. In 2011, he moved to Vancouver to study at the Vancouver Film School and has been working in the Film and TV industry ever since. His participation in sound post-production ranges from films, commercials, and documentaries to TV series. His work has been screened in festivals such as TIFF, VIFF, SXSW, Tribeca, and at Cannes.