Cree storyteller Trudy Stewart is our next Filmpool member to be profiled. Hailing from Flying Dust First Nation, Saskatchewan, Trudy received her BFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Regina in 2008, and is now based in Regina as a writer, director, and sometimes producer. Not only has she created her own films, such as her work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on From Up North, which has been shown and awarded at multiple festivals across the globe, but she has also worked as a film programmer for Toronto’s ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, as well as Artistic Director for Regina’s Mispon Indigenous Film Festival for the past five years. Trudy says that much of her work is based around a common theme of understanding. “I wanted to capture some of the experiences I was having or seeing in the community,” she says, “to show a different perspective and feature First Nations people.”
In creating these projects, Trudy has found that the Filmpool to be a resource for her work from start to finish, often accessing equipment, grants, and overall support from the staff in order to assist in her filmmaking. “It’s great to have them as a cheerleader for local indie film by always letting everybody know what people are working on and screening their work when possible,” Trudy says. The support from the Filmpool has also allowed her to work with other Saskatchewan filmmakers, including hiring a Sask-based editor when creating From Up North. Trudy says that working on this film helped her to overcome one of her challenges in the creative process, which is letting go. She says that she enjoys being involved with a film’s creation every step of the way, but having someone edit a film for her was a completely different experience. “It was hard to not hang over his shoulder and do it myself, but I trusted him, and even though I had a hard time stepping back, it turned out beautiful,” Trudy says. Even after the numerous festivals and productions over the last few years, it seems Trudy isn’t ready to take a break just yet. She is currently in the writing stage for her first feature film with the working title The Women of Julia House, based upon her experience living in first and second stage crisis shelters for women.