Speaker Loretta Sarah Todd

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Loretta Sarah Todd

Director, Showrunner, Producer, Writer

Loretta Sarah Todd is a visionary leader in Indigenous media, considered a true artist with entrepreneurial energy and deep cultural knowledge. Her first dramatic feature, Monkey Beach, based on the iconic novel by Eden Robinson, recently launched to strong audience and critical response, screening at TIFF (Industry Selects), opening the Vancouver International Film Festival and sweeping the Drama awards at the American Indian and Red Nation Film Festivals in the USA, including Best Film and Best Director. With international awards adding up (Venice Film Awards, 7 th Art International Film Festival), Monkey Beach was the #1 Canadian film for 4 weeks at Cineplex and Landmark Theatres.

Ms. Todd has directed over 100 projects including award-winning documentaries (Forgotten Warriors, Hands of History, People Go On), digital media and games (My Cree App, Coyote Quest) animation (25 short animations) and TV. Ms. Todd created, produced, wrote and directed children's series (Tansi! Nehiyawetan 1-3, Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science 1-3), sci-fi (Skye and Chang) and interactive media (Fierce Girls). She is in development with a new animated children's series call Nitanis & Skylar.

Her media work encompasses contributions to the development of Indigenous media, providing opportunities for Indigenous cast, crew and creative, building new spaces for Indigenous production and expression and writing influential scholarly essays on issues of appropriation, representation and Indigenous futurism. Ms. Todd created the Aboriginal Media Lab with the Chief Dan George Centre and Simon Fraser University and was instrumental in the formation of the Aboriginal Arts Centre at the Banff Centre. Recently, she created the IM4 Media Lab, an Indigenous VR/AR/XR Lab, in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she is the Creative Director.

Trailblazing in the development of immersive technologies, Ms. Todd is currently a Fellow to the Inaugural Indigenous Delegation to the Co-Creation Lab at MIT, sponsored by the Indigenous Screen Office. And she is on the Advisory Board to the ONX Studio, a NYC based immersive technology art lab sponsored by the Onassis Foundation and the NEW MUSEUM, plus she was recently invited to be on the board of the Kaleidoscope Immersive Fund and the jury for the latest SIGGRAPH Conference. A respected speaker, she's presented at VIFFImmersed, The Global AR/VR Summit, Kidscreen, Museum of Modern Art – as well the Aboriginal International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, at the United Nations – to name a few.

Ms. Todd is an original. She ran-away at 13, was homeless and became a teen mother – which changed her life. She went back to school and worked in bakeries, construction, restaurants – to stay away from social workers who might take her daughter. Still she managed to become a writer, activist, entrepreneur and an award-winning filmmaker. She is a devotee of world cinema, sci-fi, obscure music, elegant fashion, forests, gardens and Paris – and is an instigator of fusion Indigenous cultural expression. She is also
knowledgeable about her culture – creating and producing an award-winning children’s series that teaches kids to speak Cree, her father’s first language, as well as creating the first Cree language app.

Her films have screened at the Sundance Festival, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco), Yamagata Film Festival, ImagineNative, and the Museum of Modern Art, to name just a few. She has received many prestigious honours and awards, including a Rockefeller Fellowship to New York University, attendance to the Sundance Scriptwriter’s Lab, Special Jury Citation (TIFF), Mayor's Award for Media Arts (City of Vancouver) and the recent Women of Excellence Award, from the United Nation's WEF Women's Economic Forum.

Ms. Todd is Cree/Metis, from St. Paul des Metis, White Fish Lake First Nation and Turtle Mountain Chippewa in North Dakota.

Speaking on: Nations to Nations: Canadian Indigenous stories on a global stage

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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