Toronto Film School alumnus Tim Myles has been named the recipient of the 2020 imagineNATIVE + LIFT Mentorship Grant.
Now in its 16th year, the annual mentorship was developed by imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) to offer an Indigenous artist living in the GTA the opportunity to “expand their practice into the realm of film, and present their new work in a professional context.”
Myles, who graduated from Toronto Film School’s Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre program in 2016, is a Mi’kmaq artist originally from St. Bernard’s-Jacques Fontaine, Newfoundland.
He was awarded the mentorship grant to develop his debut short film, Little Bird – a semi-autobiographical story of a young, Indigenous man who finds strength in family while processing the death of his mother.
“I am beyond grateful to LIFT and imagineNATIVE for giving me the opportunity to tell this story,” said Myles, who lost his own mother in 2014.
“It’s a film that’s really close to my heart, and my team and I are extremely excited to head into production and bring it to life.”
As winner of the 2020 imagineNATIVE + LIFT Mentorship Grant, Myles will be enrolled in LIFT’s seasonal workshops and will be provided with access to and mentorship around LIFT’s production and post-production equipment.
“Making a first film is always hard, and Tim has additional challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Chris Kennedy, LIFT’s Executive Director, said in a statement.
“However, his message of how families process loss is especially apropos this year. We’re committed to supporting Tim in making sure his singular concept comes to the screen through this mentorship program.”
Myles will also receive additional financial and resource support from imagineNATIVE, lead industry partner Netflix, and other to-be-confirmed mentorship partners to complete his film for premiere at the 2020 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, which runs from October 20-25.
“We are thrilled to be working with Tim and supporting this film, a poignant story beautifully told through Tim’s artistic lens,” imagineNATIVE’s Institute Manager Adriana Chartrand said of Little Bird, which will feature an Indigenous cast.
Since graduating from the acting program at Toronto Film School, Myles has launched his career behind the camera, working with Universal Music and Island Records to direct multiple music videos for artists including Banners, Tilsen, Indigenous rock group Crown Lands, and Métis pop artist Indigo. His music video for Indigo’s The Light premiered at the 2019 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
Myles’s most recent project was a music video for Crown Lands, titled End of the Road – a tribute to the missing and murdered Indigenous women on the Highway of Tears. He also appeared on the docuseries Going Native, about being a young, Two-Spirit actor and filmmaker, which will appear on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) later this fall.