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Sep 29, 2019

On today’s episode, we have a genuine Superheroine! Sonya Ballantyne is an emerging filmmaker and writer from Misipawistik Cree Nation. Sonya won the 2014 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition at Gimli Film Festival for Crash Site and the 2016 Short Film Pitch at ImagineNative Film Festival with Eagle Girl. She recently spoke at San Diego Comic Con about Indigenous Media Representation. She became interested in film because she wanted to see people like her mother as a starship captain on Star Trek or fighting aliens like Ripley. She wanted a Native hero that existed in the present or in the future, to show us that we made it. Her films put Indigenous girls and women in film genres where they are not traditionally included: horror, sci-fi, fantasy and superhero films. Sonya recently published her first children’s book, Kerri Berry Lynn, about a Cree girl from Misipawistik and her seven pet dogs. She is planning to publish her first graphic novel, a biography about Daphne Odjig, in 2020.

Sonya and I first met while we were preparing for our TEDx talk in Winnipeg and I found Sonya to be such an inspiration, a gentle warrior, with a killer sense of humour! I’m so excited that she’s on the show today and that she joins our Fempowered women. Her story is so important and this episode is full of profound wisdom and life experience. Grab a journal because you are going to want to capture those quotes and insights.

Enjoy this important and colourful episode and share the message – it’s too good to keep for just yourself 😉

Xox Andrea

In this episode we discuss:

  • How we met through TEDx
  • How superheroes helped her journey to being a filmmaker
  • How she used her childhood challenges to save and change the world
  • Her “Why”
  • How she handled online harassment towards her recently
  • How the “sisterhood” of women has helped her
  • Sonya’s thoughts on self-image and overcoming societal pressures
  • Sonya’s perspectives on love, life and learning about who she is and leaving a legacy
  • How Sonya launched her initial film and gets her ideas off the ground
  • How she got into filmmaking when her passion was in writing
  • How she redefines “success”
  • The impact her films are having back home and in her community
  • How she got Mattel to make a Cree Barbie and became a brand ambassador
  • How Sonya has reconnected to her traditional and cultural teachings
  • Our ancestral stories and traditions
  • What Sonya shared about life “on-reserve” vs. “off-reserve”
  • What surprised Sonya the most when she first moved to the city
  • The importance of community and the call from within
  • Her breakthrough moment and her superpower
  • How she uses her platform and fame for more good
  • Why storytelling is important to Sonya
  • What Sonya is currently reading and how much she reads and what she recommends
  • Advice Sonya gives for women in filmmaking
  • The ‘secret code’ of women
  • The dreams Sonya is currently chasing
  • Transitions as we move through generations in family
  • Sonya’s favourite book,, movie and quotes
  • Sonya’s single biggest lesson learned so far and her favourite singer!
  • And so much more!