Speaker Jesse Wente

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Jesse Wente

Executive Director

Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office

Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker, and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Jesse is best known for his 24 years as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning. Jesse spent 11 years with the Toronto International Film Festival, the last seven as the director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Metis and Inuit art, he has spoken at the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Canadian Arts Summit, the Cultural Summit of the Americas, and numerous Universities and Colleges. Jesse has served on the board of directors of the Toronto Arts Council, The ImagineNative Film and Media Festival and Native Earth Performing Arts. He was recently appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts, the only First Nations person to ever hold the position. Jesse is currently finishing his first book for Penguin Random House Canada. Jesse was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in February 2018. Playback Magazine named Jesse the trailblazer of the year for 2020, and he was also included on Maclean’s Magazine’s Power List for 2020 and Toronto Life’s list of the most influential Torontonians of 2020.

Speaking on: State of the Nation: Canadian industry at a crossroads

At the Banff Media Festival, we met with Netflix and took a ride up Sulphur Mountain on the gondola. That’s where we made the pitch.
- Naveen Prasad, EVP and GM, Elevation Pictures

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