CSC holding its first ever workshop for Indigenous cinematographers in Winnipeg

The Canadian Society of Cinematographers announced its first workshop – IndigiLens – aimed at Indigenous cinematographers to be held in Winnipeg on May 25, 26 and 27, with its training partner Film Training Manitoba.

“The workshop is geared for the Indigenous filmmaker who wants to level-up their cinematic look,” says project lead, Luther Alexander, a Saulteaux producer and cinematographer who has worked in documentary and narrative film for more for 10 years. “During the workshop we will explore digital cameras, cinema lenses, advanced lighting techniques and camera movement principles. Each participant will gain theoretical understanding and practical skills with hands-on training.”

“Film Training Manitoba (FTM) is deeply honoured to serve as a training partner on this ground-breaking industry development program to build the skills of our film workers,” says FTM’s Executive Director Adam Smoluk. “This wonderful and innovative collaboration provides the most cutting-edge skills development for Manitoba’s film industry. FTM is looking forward to the many more years of this exceptional new partnership.”

The lead instructor is award-winning cinematographer, Luc Montpellier csc ASC, assisted by associate members of the CSC—Winnipeg-based cinematographer and educator, Andrew Forbes, and Luther Alexander.

“I’m thrilled to be part of this workshop,” says Montpellier. “At this stage of my career, nothing gives me more pleasure than being able to get together with talented cinematographers who are emerging with their own stories and passions. I learn just as much or more from workshop participants than the knowledge and experience I can share with them.”

The workshop has been a long time in the making.

“Doing a workshop specifically for Indigenous filmmakers has been on the Diversity Committee agenda for about four years,” says Rion Gonzales, associate member of the CSC, and co-chair of the Diversity Committee. “But we’ve actively had it on the drawing board for the past two years. Building the partnership, working through the curriculum, finding the funding, doing all the things that go into an initiative like this one. We’re so pleased to see it happening right now.”

Coupled with the IndigiLens workshop, the initative includes the creation of a lending bank of lighting and camera gear available to Indigenous cinematographers for gratis loan. FujiFilm has stepped up with a contribution of three FujiFilm X-H2S Mirrorless cameras along with FUJINON MKX18-55mm T2.9 and FujiFilm MKX 50-135 T2.9 lenses. Aputure is on board with an array of Aputure’s latest lighting packages and new products.

Alongside FujiFilm and Aputure, the CSC’s work in Winnipeg is possible through the contribution of many partners, Local studio Unit 204 Production Services is hosting the workshop at their facility. Sunbelt TV & Rentals/William F. White Int’l. Inc., FRANK Digital, Keslow Camera and Habibi Film Rentals are supplying the gear needed to put on the workshop.

Warner Bros. Discovery Access and the Indigenous Screen Office are much-needed funding partners.

“We are excited to build on the relationships we have begun with our Winnipeg partners,” says CSC CEO Susan Saranchuk. “Each participant in the workshop will receive a one-year membership in the CSC, which gives them all access to additional training opportunities, and well as a network to further their own careers. And, through consultation, we will come to understand what more the CSC can do to help Indigenous filmmakers tell their stories. We believe there are many stories yet to be told and want to do our part in supporting that process.”