Jesse Wente was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Toronto in cinema studies in 1996. He broadcast for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on films and pop culture for 20 years, and was appointed to the Canada Council for the Arts 2017-2021. Wente identifies himself as Ojibwe and is an outspoken advocate for Indigenous rights and First Nations, Metis and Inuit art. He is a member of the Serpent River First Nation and a director of the Toronto Arts Council.
Wente is active in a number of areas in the sphere of Canadian media. He has been a culture critic with the CBC Radio One's Metro Morning program for more than 20 years and on CBC Radio One's Unreserved program. Wente is actively involved in Canadian film in a number of roles and is an advocate for increasing the presence of underrepresented voices. He previously served as Director of Film Programmes, at TIFF Bell Lightbox, where he oversaw theatrical, Cinematheque and Film Circuit programming.
Wente was named as the first director of Canada's new Indigenous Screen Office in January 2018. This program of the Canadian federal government is intended to support the development, production and marketing of Indigenous screen content and storytelling in Canada.
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