Spotlight on Julie O’Bomsawin

Abenaki executive producer Julie O’Bomsawin started off in the film business working, among other things, as assistant director on numerous Indigenous documentaries not long after graduating from UQÀM in 2001. “Being an Indigenous woman is a political act in itself,” she said. “My goal is to make meaningful, sensitive television that goes beyond mere entertainment.”

As proof of the courage of her convictions, she co-founded Kassiwi Media, the production company where she is President, Producer and Executive Producer. Since then, she has consistently promoted inclusion and authentic representation of Indigenous communities onscreen. To that end, Kassiwi Media employs Indigenous interns, creators and consultants on all productions to ensure the development of a strong and proud next generation of screen industry players.

Over the past few months, Julie has been working on an edutainment series for 8- to-11-year-olds – Les Autochtones, tu connais? – with support from the CMF. Combining archival and current footage, 2D animation and live action, each of the eight 30-minute episodes is based on a First Nations, Métis or Inuit theme. While some of the filming in communities has been postponed or cancelled altogether due to the pandemic, the series is still expected to be ready for broadcast on TFO in 2022.

Julie believes there is strength in diversity and wealth in numbers. She’s been participating recently in roundtables on Indigenous representation onscreen with the CMF, Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and the Indigenous Screen Office. “Collectively, we need to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities so we can better understand our shared history, pass it on to our children and create a world more open to diversity,” Julie said. “It’s a longterm project that’s certain to be of benefit to everyone.”

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors.
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