Tricksters and Writers Screenwriting Program

Program Overview

Launched in August 2017, Tricksters and Writers was created to increase the professional participation of Indigenous Pa‡ki·s (women, two-spirit, Indiqueer) screenwriters by providing opportunities to delve into story development and screenwriting in a workshop setting and networking with fellow Indigenous creatives.

This program is currently closed for applications.  

Key Dates

May 24 - July 18
Part 1
September 19 - October 23
Part 2

Program Outline

Part 1

Writers will learn how to develop their stories and learn proper screenwriting techniques while delving into topics such as, Cultural Authenticity; Speaking Your Truth; Making and Breaking Plot; Writing Great Characters; and The World of the Film.

Part 2

Writers will return after a summer of writing to start the workshopping process with their fellow writers by sharing their work and receiving helpful feedback to help them as they continue writing. As we wrap up the program, writers will be able to meet with Indigenous producers and funding programs to help build up their network connections to further their career in the film industry.

Throughout the program, writers will also have several opportunities to meet one-on-one with their instructor and take part in group writing sessions.


Tricksters & Writers is free to attend and bursaries will be available for each selected participant to assist with childcare and refreshments during workshop meeting times.

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Be an Indigenous identifying Pa‡ki·s (Women, Indigiqueer and Two-Spirit)
  • Have a short or feature-length film idea that they would like to write
  • Have a computer and access to the internet
  • Be available to participate in the program according to the dates outlined above
  • Be 18 years of age or older

Project Eligibility

Tricksters and Writers accepts applications from Indigenous identifying Pa‡ki·s writers from across Canada.

Program Alumni

Lower Mainland: Jessie Anthony, Jennifer Brosseau, Petie Chalifoux, Angela Cooper, Courtenay Crane, Nikita Day, Joy Haskell, Wanda John, Shaelyn Johnston, Sarah Kelley, Jules Koostachin, Lindsay McIntyre, Michele Mundy, Priscilla Omulo, Brenda Prince, Elise Raye, Kelly Roulette, Sarah Stupar, Marcy Waughtal, Robyn Weaselbear

North Vancouver Island: Andrea Andrew, Leah Flagg, Wendy Geddes, CJ Rice

Thompson-Nicola: Mariel Belanger, Debbra Butler, Yvonne Dixon, Melisa Fraser, Michelle Ikwumonu, Wendy Landry, Jennifer Narcisse, Dawn Tonks, Esther Winder

Northern BC: Blanche Bell, Kaitlyn Chouinard, Desiree Danielson, Tryna Gower, Deanna Izony, Helen Knott, Zoe Mack, Shiloh Nyce, Tamara Quock, Marnie Smith, Sasheen Wesley

The Tricksters and Writers Team

Doreen Manuel, MFA (Program Development/Advisor/Instructor)

Doreen Manuel headshot

Doreen Manuel is a respected Secwepemc/Ktunaxa First Nations filmmaker. She is the sixth child of Grand Chief George Manuel and Spiritual Leader Marceline Manuel. She is a residential school survivor, mother of three children, and is an award-winning filmmaker. Doreen is the Director of the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation and Inclusive Community Projects, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Knowledge Network, Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Documentary Organization of Canada. She also serves on the Motion Picture Production Association of BC Equity and Inclusion Committee. She is an advisor to the Telefilm Indigenous Working Group, Telefilm Talent to Watch Fund, TELUS Storyhive – Indigenous Envelope, and Matriarch advisor to IM4 virtual and augmented reality training program. Doreen is a founder and instructor for the Tricksters and Writers feature film screenwriting program for Indigenous women and a founder of the Indigenous Digital Accelerator and the Filmmakers in Indigenous Leadership and Management Business Affairs program.

Shaelyn Johnston, MFA (Program Coordinator/Instructor)

Shaelyn Johnston headshot

Shaelyn Johnston is an award-winning writer from Vancouver, BC. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s History Award, was one of 30 filmmakers chosen for Telus Storyhive’s inaugural Indigenous Storytellers Edition, and has participated in the Netflix/BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative and Whistler Film Festival Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship. Her short film, The Healing Dance, has screened at numerous festivals across Canada & the US, won Best Short Film at the Weengushk International Film Festival, and recently surpassed over 11k views on YouTube. She coordinates and co-facilitates Women in Film & Television Vancouver’s Tricksters & Writers Screenwriters Program, of which she was previously a participant; Capilano University’s Filmmakers in Indigenous Leadership Management & Business Affairs (FILMBA) Program; and is coordinator of the UBC Scripted Media Career Accelerator in the UBC School of Creative Writing, where she is currently working through her MFA as an optional-residency student.

Jenna Spink (Program Assistant)

Jenna Spink headshot

Jenna Spink is an emerging Métis filmmaker, currently studying in the Indigenous Digital Filmmaking Program at Capilano University. Jenna recently wrote and directed the documentary Driven Filmmakers and is in pre-production of her first short narrative film, ROUGE. With her on-going studies, Jenna has found an interest in producing, cinematography, and has begun to gain experience during her classmates’ films as a First AD. Jenna has a strong passion for the outdoors and uses mother nature as her main source of inspiration. She is always ready to jump in and learn new things.


Story Editors: Penny Gumerson, Zoe Hopkins, Eva Thomas, Jordan Wheeler, David Geary, Gary Robinson & Jackson Crick.