Jennifer Podemski is a director, writer, producer and actor. Born and raised in Toronto, Jennifer makes her home in Barrie, Ontario.
Of mixed Anishinaabe (First Nation) and Ashkenazi (Jewish) decent, Jennifer’s professional acting career began when she was 17. Her breakout role was Sadie, in Bruce McDonald’s iconic film, Dance Me Outside, a performance that garnered critical acclaim, solidifying her place in Canada’s film and television canon.
In 1999, Jennifer shifted her focus to producing as a way to address the lack of Indigenous representation in the film and television industry. She launched Big Soul Productions with Laura Milliken becoming Canada’s first Indigenous owned and operated, full-service film and television production and post production company. Big Soul Productions produced a variety of documentary television series, scripted short films and the award winning, multi-season, all Indigenous dramatic television series Moccasin Flats for Showcase Television and APTN.
In 2005, Jennifer branched out independently and has been creating, producing, writing and directing content through her production company Redcloud Studios Inc. Her most recent credits include five seasons of the paranormal television series The Other Side (APTN), the award winning feature film Empire of Dirt and two seasons of documentary series Future History (APTN) for which she received the 2020 Canadian Screen Award for Best Director Factual.
Jennifer has maintained a successful career as an actor, with roles in Degrassi TNG, Republic of Doyle, Take This Waltz, Blackstone, Hard Rock Medical and Cardinal. She is most proud of her starring role in her own film Empire of Dirt which was nominated for 5 Canadian Screen Awards in 2015 including Best Actress (Cara Gee), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Podemski), Best Editing (Jorge Weisz), Best Film (Jennifer Podemski) and a win for Best Screenplay making Shannon Masters the first Indigenous woman to receive this honour.
In 2020, Jennifer launched The Shine Network, a digital platform designed to amplify the voices of Indigenous women content creators and offer professional development opportunities to Indigenous women.
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