Kerry Swanson to lead Native Screen Office, Jesse Wente to leave at year end

TORONTO — The Indigenous Screen Office says co-executive director Kerry Swanson is stepping into the role of executive director and founding director Jesse Wente will leave at the end of the year.

The board said Wente, who served as co-executive director with Swanson, will continue to work with the organization on future strategic initiatives even after his departure.

Board Chairman Jean La Rose thanked Wente for his contributions, saying in a statement that « the broader Indigenous production community has benefited greatly from the impact of his presence, voice and advocacy ».

Wente says it has been a great honor to work for ISO, but the announcement did not specify the reason for his departure or detail future plans. In the statement, he says he has “achieved the goals I set for myself when I joined the organization.”

Wente started with ISO in 2018 and, together with Swanson, who started the following year, created the first independent, Indigenous-led funding body in Canada, backed by a $40 million allocation over three years from Canadian Heritage.

Over the past two years, the ISO says it has provided more than $20 million in funding to Indigenous storytellers across Canada and developed partnership programs with organizations such as Netflix, Directors Guild of Canada, Amazon Studios , MIT, Sundance Institute and Banff World. Media party.

Swanson is the former Executive Director and Chair of the Board of imagineNATIVE, and previously held leadership positions at the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

She is a member of the Michipicoten First Nation and has family ties to the Chapleau Cree First Nation in Ontario.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 7, 2022.


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