May 3rd 2021, 12:15pm-1:15pm ET
Keynote talk: Jesse Wente (Indigenous Screen Office)
Introduction: Adrianne Xavier (McMaster University)
Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, speaker and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, his family comes from Chicago and Genaabaajing Anishinaabek and he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Jesse is best known for more than two decades spent as a columnist for CBC Radio's Metro Morning. Jesse was with the Toronto International Film Festival for 11 years, the last seven as the director of film programmes at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. An outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Métis 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. In summer 2020 he was 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.