LIFT and imagineNATIVE 2023 Mentorship Announcement

2023 LIFT and imagineNATIVE Mentorship Winner Jordan Wanakamik


Toronto, March 17, 2023—The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) are pleased to announce that Toronto-based Anishinaabe, Cree and Vietnamese artist Jordan Wanakamik is the recipient of the 18th annual LIFT/imagineNATIVE Mentorship. This annual mentorship was developed to offer an Indigenous artist living in the Greater Toronto Area the opportunity to expand their practice into the realm of film, and present their new work in a professional context. His planned film, “Burned,” is about transitioning from being in a stagnant, but comfortable place to challenging yourself and finding your happy place. It’s never too late to start fresh and to chase your dreams, no matter how scary it is.

Jordan will be enrolled in LIFT’s seasonal workshops and will be provided with access to and mentorship around LIFT’s production and post-production equipment. He will receive additional financial and resource support from imagineNATIVE and other to-be-confirmed mentorship partners to complete a film for premiere at the 2023 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (October 17-22 in person, and online streaming October 22-29. Through the generous support of lead industry partner Netflix, imagineNATIVE has been able to expand their financial contribution to the LIFT/imagineNATIVE Mentorship Program to help Indigenous artists bring their short films to life.

“We’re very happy to be working with Jordan Wankamik this year. We were struck with his deep interest in filmmaking and his ability to build personal experience into an interesting project. We look forward to providing him the tools to make his vision complete,” says Chris Kennedy, LIFT’s Executive Director.

“The imagineNATIVE Institute is thrilled to be supporting Jordan on the creation of his short film and looks forward to its premiere at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival this October,” adds Jamie-Lee Reardon, imagineNATIVE Institute Manager.

“There’s few things more fulfilling than having an avenue to express your creativity and to create something meaningful with those who share your passion. Being a new Indigenous filmmaker and receiving something as special as this so early into my career, I have the greatest amount of gratitude for LIFT and imagineNATIVE for giving me the opportunity to create, to use their resources to help me grow and to meet so many others who share my same goal. I can’t wait to learn all that I can, meet everyone I can and to create something that I can be proud of. Thank you LIFT and imagineNATIVE!”
—Jordan Wanakamik

Jordan Wanakamik is an emerging Anishinaabe, Cree and Vietnamese filmmaker and photographer based in Toronto, Ontario. Starting out with photography as a hobby in 2018, he found a passion in cinematography and writing stories and decided to pursue a career in film. He is a member of Whitesand First Nation and the Cree Nation of Mistissini and son of a Vietnamese immigrant. Since starting his film career in 2022, he has participated in various film training, workshops and programs that include: the 2022 Creative Sovereignty Lab, the 2022 POV Production Assistant Training Program and was a participant in the Internship Initiative for the Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC). In addition to his LIFT and imagineNATIVE mentorship film, he is also currently in pre-production for a self-written directorial debut film titled “Oshki-aya’aa.”

Previous year’s mentees include actor and choreographer Michael Greyeyes (Seven Seconds); Dora and Juno Award nominee Jani Lauzon (eu•tha•na•sia); Michelle Latimer (Tomorrow); Tyler Hagan (Estuary), Adrienne Marcus Raja (Soli), Jaene Castrillon (Celebration of Darkness), Jamie Whitecrow (Heidi Lost), Samay Arcentales Cajas (In Moment), Natasha Naveau (Menaptwi (Smoked)), Cole Forrest (Into Water) and Tim Miles (Little Bird). Jordan will premiere his new short at the 24th annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.

On behalf of the Selection Committee, thank you to all of this year’s incredible applicants! To find out more about this annual mentorship, and other artistic opportunities available through imagineNATIVE, please contact Institute Coordinator Bliss Bondy at

Follow this program on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: #LIFTiNMentorship


About the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT)
The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is Canada’s foremost artist-run production and education organization dedicated to celebrating excellence in the moving image. LIFT exists to provide support and encouragement for independent filmmakers and artists through affordable access to production, post-production and exhibition equipment; professional and creative development; workshops and courses; commissioning and exhibitions; artist-residencies; and a variety of other services. LIFT is supported by its membership, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Foundation, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Arts Council.

About the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the largest international festival of its kind that celebrates the latest works by Indigenous peoples on the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio and new media. The imagineNATIVE Institute, a department within the organization, also runs year-round professional development opportunities for Indigenous screen creatives, and hosts a series of industry relevant talks each Spring. Each fall, the Festival presents a selection of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the globe. The festival’s screenings, parties, panel discussions, and cultural events attract and connect filmmakers, media artists, programmers, buyers, and industry professionals. The works accepted reflect the diversity of the world’s Indigenous nations and illustrate the vitality and excellence of our art and culture in contemporary media. This year’s festival takes place in-person at the TIFF Bell Lightbox from October 17-22, and move to online streaming and iNdigital platforms from October 22-29, 2023.

About Netflix
Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.



Monday 13 March 2023 – Tuesday 31 October 2023


Toronto Canad