imagineNATIVE is the world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. The organisation is recognised locally, nationally, and internationally for excellence and innovation in programming and as the global centre for Indigenous media arts. imagineNATIVE (legal entity: The Centre for Aboriginal Media) is a registered charity committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art including film, video, audio and digital media.
We are an Indigenous-run organisation located on the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat nations. We acknowledge the Dish With One Spoon covenant, a treaty whose spirit is one based in collective stewardship and sharing of land and resources, and one which extends to all nations living in present-day Toronto.
imagineNATIVE presents the world’s largest Indigenous film festival, a national Tour focused on reconciliation, as well as the Institute among many other initiatives throughout the year. imagineNATIVE is one of the leading arts organisations in Canada and won the highly competitive and prestigious Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (Ontario) in 2018 (finalist in 2009 and 2015).
imagineNATIVE is committed to public education and strives towards dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities. To this end, we conduct professional development workshops and panels, public education initiatives, research projects, and curriculum/educators’ packages for secondary schools created from Indigenous pedagogies.
The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival - the organisation's primary activity - launched in 2000 and celebrates 20 years in October 2019. The Festival was founded to support the diverse, contemporary work of Indigenous directors, producers and screenwriters working in film, video, audio and digital media. We also present the annual imagineNATIVE Film + VR Tour across Canada with a focus on remote communities.
The Festival is unique in the arts landscape and currently has no direct parallel in Canada or abroad. Our role in the local arts ecology is as an established presenter that has made an indelible impact on other festivals, including TIFF and Hot Docs, who now routinely and actively seek Indigenous-made films in a way they didn’t a few years ago. There are no other presenters in Toronto that specialise in Indigenous media arts; indeed imagineNATIVE is the largest annual Indigenous media arts event in the country. We are one of a handful of media arts presenters regarded as ‘anchor’ film festivals in the annual and crowded film festival calendar in Toronto.
On the national stage, imagineNATIVE has again emerged as a sector and artistic leader. We are approached consistently to partner with organisations from across Canada and play a leadership role in the Indigenous and non-Indigenous arts communities. Our outreach extends beyond Toronto, as we do a number of screenings across Canada to promote the Festival and to give Canadians access to Indigenous-made film and video which is not readily accessible to them.
Internationally, imagineNATIVE continues to excel with meaningful partnerships with artists, film festivals and other key stakeholders from across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia and New Zealand, and has a strong relationship with the Berlinale (Germany). We are the go-to presenter for Indigenous artists seeking an invested and interested audience and for others seeking Indigenous content.
imagineNATIVE has long been committed to creating a Festival atmosphere that is inclusive, accessible, welcoming and celebratory for artists, audiences and delegates alike. As part of our commitment to creating the best possible presentation experiences for our audiences, we actively consider accessibility to be a central principle.
imagineNATIVE serves Indigenous artists through excellence in presentation and professional conduct. We pride ourselves on this commitment in ensuring professional and independent Aboriginal artists have a professional Festival environment that is supportive, nurturing, and cultural and one that gives them the opportunity to represent their work in the best possible way. imagineNATIVE is committed to paying industry-standard artists fees for all our initiatives and asks all our co-presentation partners to ensure these fees are paid, even in circumstances where they are not requested.
The Centre for Aboriginal Media was founded by Cynthia Lickers-Sage and Vtape with the help of other community partners. The organisation grew from the incredible work of the visionaries behind the Aboriginal Film & Video Alliance and today is the international hub of Indigenous media arts.
Please contact us if you would like any additional information.