Tricksters and Writers Screenwriting Program 

Launched in August 2017, Tricksters and Writers was created to increase the professional participation of Indigenous Pa‡ki·s* (Pa‡ki·s [pronunciation pathkis] directly translates into the English language as “women”. Since Indigenous language doesn’t directly translate all cultural meaning of each word or phrase into English and in keeping with Indigenous culture of inclusivity Pa‡ki·s in this decolonized context is also meant to include Indigiqueer and Two-Spirit) writers in contemporary screen-based media production so that local, national and international audiences have the opportunity to hear their stories.  

Selected participants have the opportunity to delve into story development and screenwriting in a workshop setting, crafting their stories for the screen while also having the opportunity to network with fellow Indigenous creatives. Our previous workshops have taken place across 4 regions of BC including the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Nicola, North Vancouver Island, and Northern BC. 

*Pa‡ki·s is from the Ktunaxa language, the traditional language of our program founder, Doreen Manuel.

To read a further explanation of our use of language, please click here.

WIFTV Announces Finalists for Tricksters and Writers Program. Read the Press Release here.  


Tricksters and Writers has going national and accepted applications from Indigenous identifying Pa‡ki·s writers from across Canada this year. See below for more information about the upcoming program. 

Program Dates

The Tricksters & Writers National Program will meet online once a week for 2 hours over 12 weeks:

  • Part 1 starts the week of May 24 – June 30 for 6 weeks (Until week of July 18) 
  • Part 2 starts the week of September 19 for 6 weeks (Until week of Oct 23) 

Program Format

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.

Eligibility Criteria

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

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.

The Tricksters and Writers Team

Read the full bios here

Doreen Manuel, MFA (Program Development/Advisor/Instructor)
A respected Secwepemc/Ktunaxa First Nations filmmaker, as well as the Director of the Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film & Animation and Inclusive Community Projects. 

Shaelyn Johnston, BFA (Program Coordinator/Instructor)
An Anishinaabe & Irish-Canadian writer, she is currently working on her MFA through UBC’s Creative Writing Program.

Jenna Spink (Program Assistant)
An emerging Métis filmmaker, she is currently studying in the Indigenous Digital Filmmaking Program at Capilano University.

Peggy Thompson (Program Development/Advisor)
A proven screenwriter and producer best known for the award-winning feature films, “The Lotus Eaters” and “Better than Chocolate”. 

Carolyn Combs (Program Development/Advisor)
Former Executive Director of WIFTV and a filmmaker, she holds a Masters of Education degree with a specialization in Curriculum Studies. 

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

Recent Press

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


Excerpts from scripts were read at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival in 2019 and 2020. 


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We are grateful for the ongoing support of:

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