Canadian Screen Awards recognize Aboriginal talent

Jennifer Podemski, Michelle Thrush and Alanis Obomsawin are some of the Aboriginal artists nominated for Canadian Screen Awards.
Empire of Dirt garnered five nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Cara Gee, right in photo) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Podemski). (Mongrel Media)

Two films about Aboriginal people were nominated for Best Motion Picture for Canadian Screen Awards today.

Maïna, a love story that takes place 600 years ago when Innu and Inuit meet for the first time received six nominations. 

Empire of Dirt, Jennifer Podemski's film about the lives of three First Nations women was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards.

Ababaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin is nominated for Best Director. (Jeff Bear)
Veteran documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin was nominated for best director for her film, People of the Kattawapiskak River

Her film, Hi-Ho Mistahey!, about the fight for First Nations education in Attawapiskat was also nominated for Best Feature Documentary. 

Obomsawin will also receive the Humanitarian Award for Exceptional Contributions to Community & Public Service.

Michelle Thrush won a Gemini Award in 2011. This year, she is nominated for Best Actress for the television series Blackstone. (Chris Young/Canadian Press) (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
Blackstone, the APTN series about life on a fictional reserve received five nominations including Best Dramatic Series.

Michelle Thrush, winner of a Gemini in 2011, was nominated for Best Lead Actress.

Other nominees include: 

  • Maïna - six nominations including Best Motion Picture, Achievement in Art Direction, Achievement in Cinematography. 
  • Empire of Dirt - five nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Cara Gee) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Podemski).
  • A Tribe Called Red - nominated for Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series.
  • Hi-Ho Mistahey! - nominated for Best Feature Documentary.
  • The People of the Kattawapiskak River - two nominations including Best Director for Alanis Obomsawin.
  • Rhymes for Young Ghouls - Best Actress nomination for Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
  • Smoke Traders - Best Writing in a Documentary Program or Series
  • We Were Children - four nominations including Best History or Biography Documentary
  • Blackstone - Best Supporting Actress nomination for Cheri Maracle, Best Writing in a Dramatic series nomination for Damon Vignale and Ron E. Scott and 2014 Diversity Award (For Excellence in Mainstream Television Programming that Reflects the Racial and Cultural Diversity of Canada).

The Canadian Screen Awards were handed out for the first time in 2013 and combine the previously separate Genie Awards (the Canadian honour for English- and French-language films) and Gemini Awards (Canada's prize for English- and French-language TV and digital programming).

The televised CSA gala will air on March 9 from Toronto with Canadian comedian Martin Short returning as host. The show will be broadcast on CBC-TV.