Loretta Todd

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Loretta Sarah Todd is a Canadian Indigenous film director.[1][2][3] Her first dramatic feature, Monkey Beach, is based on the iconic novel by Eden Robinson, recently launched to a strong audience and critical response, screening at TIFF Industry Selects, opening the Vancouver International Film Festival and sweeping the Drama awards at the American Indian and Red Nation Film Festivals in the USA, including Best Film and Best Director. With international awards adding up (Venice Film Awards, 7th Art International Film Festival), Monkey Beach was the #1 Canadian film for 4 weeks at Cineplex and Landmark Theatres.

Ms. Todd has directed over 100 projects, including award-winning documentaries (Forgotten Warriors, Hands of History, People Go On), digital media and games (My Cree App, Coyote Quest) animation (25 short animations) and TV.[4][5] Ms. Todd created, produced, wrote and directed children's series (Tansi! Nehiyawetan 1-3, Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science 1-3), sci-fi (Skye and Chang) and interactive media (Fierce Girls). She is in development with a new animated children's series.[6]

Her media work encompasses contributions to the development of Indigenous media, providing opportunities for Indigenous cast, crew and creative, building new spaces for Indigenous production and expression and writing influential scholarly essays on issues of appropriation, representation and Indigenous futurism.[7][8] Ms. Todd created the Aboriginal Media Lab with the Chief Dan George Centre and Simon Fraser University and was instrumental in the formation of the Aboriginal Arts Centre at the Banff Centre. Recently, she created the IM4 Media Lab, an Indigenous VR/AR/XR Lab, in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she is the Creative Director.

Trailblazing in the development of immersive technologies, Ms. Todd is currently a Fellow to the Inaugural Indigenous Delegation to the Co-Creation Lab at MIT, sponsored by the Indigenous Screen Office. And she is on the Advisory Board of the ONX Studio, an NYC-based immersive technology art lab sponsored by the Onassis Foundation and the NEW MUSEUM, plus she was recently invited to be on the board of the Kaleidoscope Immersive Fund. A respected speaker, she's presented at VIFFImmersed, The Global AR/VR Summit, Kidscreen, and Museum of Modern Art – as well the Aboriginal International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations – to name a few.

Ms. Todd ran away at 13, was homeless and became a teen mother – which changed her life. She went back to school and worked in bakeries, construction, and restaurants – to stay off welfare and away from social workers who might take her daughter. Still, she managed to become a writer, activist, entrepreneur and an award-winning filmmaker. She is a devotee of world cinema, sci-fi, obscure music, elegant fashion, forests, gardens and Paris – and is an instigator of fusion Indigenous cultural expression. She is also knowledgeable about her culture – creating and producing an award-winning children’s series that teaches kids to speak Cree, her father’s first language, as well as creating the first Cree language app.

Her films have screened at the Sundance Festival, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco), Yamagata Film Festival, and Imagination and the Museum of Modern Art, to name just a few. She has received many prestigious honours and awards, including a Rockefeller Fellowship to New York University, attendance at the Sundance Scriptwriter’s Lab, Special Jury Citation (TIFF), Mayor's Award for Media Arts (City of Vancouver) and the recent Women of Excellence Award, from the United Nation's WEF Women's Economic Forum. Ms. Todd is Cree/Metis.[9][2]

Recent Awards - Monkey Beach 49th American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco): Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress - Grace Dove, Best Actor - Adam Beach, Best Supporting Actress - Tina Lameman, Best Supporting Actor - Nathaniel Arcand 20th Red Nation Film Festival (Los Angeles: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor - Nathaniel Arcand, Best Actress - Tina Lameman Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival: Best Film, Best Actor - Nathaniel Arcand Cinema on the Bayou: Special Jury Award



  • Halfway House about a center for Native convicts released from prison.[10][11]
  • Breaking Camp experimental installation [12]
  • Robes of Power documentary[12]
  • Blue Neon experimental film[12]
  • The Storyteller in the City installation [12]
  • Day Glo Wrestler - writer [12]
  • Eagle Run educational )[12]
  • The Healing Circle educational [12]
  • Taking Care of Our Own educational [12]
  • The Learning Path documentary [12]
  • Hands of History documentary[12]
  • Voice-Life educational [12]
  • No More Secrets educational [12]
  • Through the Lens: an Alternative Look at Filmmaking (1996)[13][11]
  • Forgotten Warriors documentary (1997)[12]
  • Today is a Good Day (1999)[12]
  • Kainayssini Imanistaisiwa: The People Go On (2003)[14]
  • Tansi! Nehiyawetan 3 seasons with APTN (2011)[10][15]
  • Skye & Chang pilot APTN (2014)[10]
  • Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show3 seasons with APTN (2017)[10][15]
  • Fierce Girls (2018)[16][17]
  • Monkey Beach (2020)[10][11][18]

Selected awards and nominations[edit]

  • Rockefeller Fellow[12]
  • ImagineNATIVE Lifetime Achievement Award[14]
  • Taos Mountain Award for Lifetime Achievement[19]
  • Sundance Scriptwriters Lab[12]
  • The Learning Path, a residential schools documentary, combined historical and contemporary footage with recreated scenes. The film was commissioned as part of the series As Long as the Rivers Flow, produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and Tamarack Productions. This was Todd's first major production as director, writer and narrator, garnering for her a Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival, the New Visionary Award at the Two Rivers Film Festival, and a Blue Ribbon at the American Film and Video Festival.[13][15][10](1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
  • Writer-director Todd was nominated for a Genie Award (Best Short Documentary) for Forgotten Warriors ,[10][13](1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
  • American Indian Film Festival: Winner for Best Live Short Subject for Skye & Chang (2013)[13][10][15]
  • Genie Awards: Nominee for Best Documentary Short Forgotten warriors [13][10][15]
  • Women in Film & Television Vancouver’s Spotlight Awards: Winner 2018 Innovation Award [13][10][15]

American Indian Film Festival - Best Documentary Film: Today is a Good Day: Remembering Chief Dan George American Indian Film Festival - Best Documentary Film: Forgotten Warriors HotDocs - Best History Documentary: Forgotten Warriors " />


  1. ^ "Loretta Todd". wef.org. 2020-09-25. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  2. ^ a b "Loretta Todd". The Shine Network Institute. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  3. ^ "Loretta Todd". Canada's National Observer. September 23, 2022. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  4. ^ "Loretta Todd". Directors.ca. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  5. ^ White, Jerry (2006). The Cinema of Canada. London: Wallflower.
  6. ^ "Loretta Todd – Initiative for Indigenous Futures". Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  7. ^ Wiesner, Darren (2018-03-26). "Exclusive – Loretta Todd is an Award Winning Cree Filmmaker and Mentor". Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  8. ^ "Loretta Todd". development.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  9. ^ "NFB Films directed by Loretta Todd". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Loretta Todd". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  11. ^ a b c Levitin, Jacqueline (2012-12-06). Levitin, Jacqueline; Plessis, Judith; Raoul, Valerie (eds.). Women Filmmakers. doi:10.4324/9780203819418. ISBN 9780203819418.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Library and Archives Canada. Celebrating Women's Achievements. September 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Loretta Todd". Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ a b Silverman, Jason. "Loretta Todd". Historica Canada. April 2007.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Kalafatic, Carol (1999-01-31), "Keepers of the Power: Story as Covenant in the Films of Loretta Todd, Shelley Niro, and Christine Welsh", in Armatage, Kay; Banning, Kass; Longfellow, Brenda (eds.), Gendering the Nation, University of Toronto Press, doi:10.3138/9781442675223-009, ISBN 9781442675223
  16. ^ "Fierce Girls Webseries". Fierce Girls. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  17. ^ "Fierce Girls focus on female First Nations superheroes". vancouversun. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  18. ^ Townsend, Kelly (September 24, 2020). "Monkey Beach's 10-year journey from print to screen". Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  19. ^ Silverman, Jason. "Uncommon Visions- The Films of Loretta Todd." Senses of Cinema. October 2002.