A new virtual writing workshop and development program for Indigenous screenwriters.

Scripting the Future: the NBC IDA Indigenous Screenwriting Program (NIIS) facilitates programming to assist advanced Indigenous screenwriters in continuing the development of their feature-length script in a workshop setting.

Advance your story while also building your skills in providing constructive story editing feedback.

This workshop is ideal for Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) writers who:

  1. Have written at least one feature film script in addition to the script being submitted for this workshop or have additional writing experience in other forms (e.g. fiction, poetry, non-fiction, etc.);
  2. Have written at least one short form script that has been in produced into production for distribution; and
  3. Have a completed feature-length screenplay to develop in the workshop.

Program format

  • Phase One - Part 1 starts the week of Oct. 9 and runs for six weeks. A total of 15 writers will participate in a weekly workshop that runs approx. 2-3 hours via Zoom and will be expected to read each screenplay being workshopped to provide feedback to their peers.
  • At the end of Part 1, writers will have a short break to work on edits to their screenplay.
  • Phase One - Part 2 will start the week of Jan. 15 and run for another six weeks of the workshop in the same format as Part 1.
  • At the end of Phase One, writers will make final edits to their scripts before submitting them for Phase Two.
  • Phase Two will run from April 1 - June 3, 2024. During Phase Two, writers will be paired with a professional story editor who will provide feedback on your recently completed draft. Writers and story editors will meet virtually to discuss the feedback.
  • Following the feedback session with the story editor, writers will have until the end of Phase Two to work on the next screenplay draft, which they will then submit for review.
  • Of the completed and submitted screenplays, eight writers and their scripts will be chosen for virtual table reads featuring a cast of talented Indigenous actors.
  • These table reads will take place between June 3 and August 5, 2024, and will include a full read-through of the script and a final feedback session with the actors, story editor, and fellow writers.
  • Phase Three participants need to attend at least 60% of the virtual table reads.

Meet the instructors and advisors

Doreen Manuel (Secwepemc/Ktunaxa), MFA, is the sixth child of Grand Chief George Manuel and Spiritual Leader Marceline Manuel and a survivor of the Indian residential school system.

She is an award-winning filmmaker with an extensive background as a leader working in First Nations education and community development. She is the Director of the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation, which is a state-of-the-art facility housing more than 9,000 square feet of studio space and an extensive inventory of advanced film industry equipment.

She serves on the Board of Directors for Knowledge Network, Women in View and Vancouver International Film Festival, and is a Partner of the Talent to Watch Telefilm Fund. She is a Matriarch with the IM4 virtual and augmented reality training program, an advisor on the TELUS STORYHIVE fund Indigenous funding envelope, Telefilm Indigenous Working Group, Motion Picture Production Association of BC Equity and Inclusion Committee and WIFTV Equity Seeking Lobby Group.

Doreen is also a founder and instructor for the WIFTV Tricksters and Writers feature film screenwriting program, a founder of the Indigenous Digital Accelerator multi-million dollar fund and the founder and developer of Filmmakers in Indigenous Leadership and Management Business Affairs training program and the founder of the Indigenous Assistant Director program.

Shaelyn Johnston (Ojibwe/Irish-Canadian) is an award-winning writer with experience in screenwriting, creative non-fiction and short-form fiction.

She is a graduate of the BFA and MFA programs in the School of Creative at the University of British Columbia and brings with her, years of experience in workshop settings, crafting constructive criticism and helping writers dig deep into the heart of their stories.

She received the Governor General’s History Award and has been published in Canada’s History Magazine and Room Magazine. She has also participated in the following programs and labs: Telus STORYHIVE’s Indigenous Storytellers Edition; the Netflix/BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative; and Whistler Film Festival’s Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship and Screenwriters Lab.

Outside of her work as a writer, Shaelyn coordinates professional development programs for Indigenous filmmakers through Capilano University’s Indigenous Digital Accelerator and also sits on the board of the Gender Equity in Media Society (previously WIFT Vancouver), where she manages and co-facilitates the Tricksters & Writers Screenwriting Program.

With an unyielding commitment to progress and a profound respect for tradition, Jackson Crick (Xeni, Tsilhqot'in) takes great pride in nurturing the next generation of Indigenous filmmakers and storytellers.

Passionate about the intersection of technology and creativity, he embraces merging Indigenous culture and ingenuity with digital innovation to help shape a future where Indigenous creativity knows no bounds.

As an actor, educator, and advocate, Jackson draws from a rich complexity of experiences to help weave narratives that resonate across diverse platforms, leaving an indelible mark on the worlds of both art and technology.

Jackson’s journey spans diverse roles that previously included serving as the Housing Project Manager with the Tsilhqot’in National Government and the Operations Manager for the IM4 Lab at Emily Carr University, overseeing the program’s virtual reality training initiatives.

Currently serving as the Manager of the Indigenous Digital Accelerator at Capilano University, Jackson works with both filmmakers and entrepreneurs to seamlessly integrate Indigenous wisdom with cutting-edge tech, encouraging transformation and growth through experiential research and professional development.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the screenwriting program, writers will be able to:

  • Offer story-editing feedback after reading a script;
  • Breakdown a feature-length script structure based on act structure;
  • Develop strong complex characters with well-defined arcs, intentional actions and winning dialogue;
  • Develop an engaging world of the story; and
  • Develop meaningful sequences and well-defined scenes.

Technical requirements

  • Competent with basic software, including Final Draft and online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Blue Jeans, etc.
  • Have a computer with a high-speed internet connection, equipped with camera and microphone (some technical support will be available through the FILMBA manager)


Applications are now closed. Thank you for your interest in the program!

For more information

If you have any inquiries, please address questions to the Program Coordinator at inded@capilanou.ca.

Our sponsor

A small logo for NBCUniversal, 375px wide.


Have questions?

Indigenous Digital Accelerator

604 983 7549

To donate to the IDA, please contact:

Doreen Manuel
604 837 3663