Gil Cardinal is a Canadian filmmaker of Métis descent. Born in Edmonton in 1950, and placed in a foster home at the age of two, Cardinal only discovered his Métis roots while making his documentary Foster Child. This 1987 National Film Board of Canada (NFB) film received over 10 international film awards, including a Gemini Award for best direction for a documentary program, following its broadcast on CBC's Man Alive series.
After graduating from the radio and TV arts program of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1971, he worked as a studio cameraman at Alberta's Access network, where he made his first film, a documentary about the pianist Mark Jablonski. In 1975 he become director and associate producer of the series Come Alive. He also Shadow Puppets: Indian Myths and Legends, a series on Cree and Blackfoot legends.
Cardinal left Access in 1980 to work with the NFB as a freelance director, researcher, writer and editor. His first film he directed for the Film Board was Children of Alcohol (1983), produced by Anne Wheeler, a documentary about the effects of parental alcoholism on children. He also shot a series of short documentaries and dramas, notably Hotwalker (1985), before making Foster Child. In 1987 Cardinal made Keyanaw Tatuskhatamak, about the struggle for Native self-government in northern Alberta. Other NFB credits include The Spirit Within (1990), on Native spiritual programs in prisons, and David with F.A.S. (1997), about fetal alcohol syndrome.
In 1998 he directed the CBC miniseries Big Bear, for which Cardinal was nominated for a second Gemini. In 2006, he made the CBC drama Indian Summer: The Oka Crisis, about the 1990 Oka Crisis. Cardinal also directed numerous episodes of North of 60 and The Rez.
- Wise, Wyndham. "Gil Cardinal". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- "Gil Cardinal". Windspeaker. Aboriginal Multimedia Society of Alberta. Retrieved 2009-10-30.[dead link]
- Cardinal, Gil (2003). "Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Cardinal, Gil (2007). "Totem: Return and Renewal". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2009-10-01.