Jennifer Podemski honoured for years of giving a voice to Indigenous stories

“If we’re not involved in film and television then we can’t change the narrative,” said Podemski.

Jennifer Podemski was given the Award of Excellence at the ACTRA awards in Toronto over the weekend for her work on and off the screen in Canadian film and television.

During her speech she offered how Indigenous people can change the narrative set by colonialism.

“If we’re not involved in film and television then we can’t change the narrative, we can’t, you know, tell our own stories and I think what’ s happening or what has happened over time,” she said. “You know the colonial experience has been celebrated and perpetuated sort of rendering the Indigenous voices almost silent.”

It’s people like Podemski that has worked so hard to keep them from staying silent said Theresa Tova, president of ACTRA Toronto.

“She has been so inspirational for so long, first of all as a fabulous actor, and then a writer and producer,” said Tova.

Podemski began her career in 1988 as a background performer.

As her career grew, she was aware there was a lack of Indigenous writers, producers and directors.

So she started a company and became co-owner of Big Soul Productions, which produced the award-winning TV series Moccasin Flats in 2003.

In 2005, she founded RedCloud Studios, dedicated to showcasing Indigenous narratives.

“I always dreamed of becoming a performer just from when I was little,” she said. “If you know that’s what you want to do, you kinda just have to figure out a way to do it,” she said.

Producer InFocus / Winnipeg

Beverly is a member of the Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation in Manitoba. She has worked in media for over a decade, including broadcast, film and the arts. She joined APTN in January 2017 from Regina, SK where she was a video journalist for CTV and Indigenous Circle.