Streel Films is an independent production company based in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2008, the company is focused on the development and production of innovative, socially conscious, character-driven film and television.
Streel Films is owned by independent filmmaker, Michelle Latimer. Most recently Michelle was the showrunner and director of the breakout scripted series TRICKSTER (Sienna Films & Streel Films) that premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival before airing on the CBC. Michelle also directed the feature documentary INCONVENIENT INDIAN which also premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and took home the People's Choice Documentary Award and the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature. In 2017, she was the showrunner, writer and director of the Indigenous resistance series RISE (Viceland), which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and went on to screen internationally before winning a Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Series. Streel Films also produced, with the support of Field of Vision, the short film NUUCA. NUUCA, executive produced by Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook, premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and screened in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale 14+ Program. Streel Films has produced work that has screened at film festivals internationally, including Sundance, TIFF, Berlinale, Rotterdam, ImagineNATIVE, Aspen Shorts, BFI, Oberhausen and Cannes, and has been acquired by the National Gallery of Canada.
As an independent filmmaker, writer and producer, Michelle's goal is to use film & new media as a tool for social change. She is interested in exploring how sound and image can transform space to create a visceral experience that lends itself to greater cultural awareness and understanding. Her films have been described as "visual poems exploring humanity," and are often experiments of creative form expressed from a personal point of view.
In 2018, Michelle was awarded a Field of Vision Filmmaker Fellowship under Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook. Through FOV she created the short film Nuuca - an exploration of how extractive industries exacerbate rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls. Nuuca premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival before screening in competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlinale Generation 14+ program.
In 2017, Michelle was the director and showrunner of the breakout Viceland documentary series, RISE. The 8-part series explored Indigenous resistance movements across the Americas, culminating in a two-part documentary documenting the Indigenous-led occupation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline. RISE premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Series, as well as a Reel Screen Diversity Award. The series has been screened in over 35 countries and remains one of the most comprehensive visual documents of the historic Standing Rock resistance.
Michelle wrote and directed the short film The Underground, an adaptation of Rawi Hage's bestselling novel "Cockroach." The film explored themes around assimilation, alienation and loss of culture. It premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and was featured at Cannes Film Festival in Telefilm Canada's "Not Short on Talent" spotlight. It also received the Best Short Film Award at the ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. Prior to this, Michelle directed and produced the documentary feature ALIAS. Critically lauded for its honest examination of urban poverty and gang violence in Toronto's community-housing neighbourhoods, the film premiered at the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival, was Closing Night film of Regent Park Film Festival and received the Best Documentary Award at the Hamilton Film Festival. ALIAS has been nominated for two 2015 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Biography Documentary and the Canadian Diversity Award, a Special Jury Award celebrating films that give voice to underrepresented stories.
In 2011, Michelle Latimer's animated short film Choke premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received the Special Jury Honourable Mention in Intl Short Filmmaking before going on to screen internationally. Choke was nominated for a 2012 Genie Award and was named by the Toronto Film Festival among Canada's Top Ten films of 2011 and was acquired by the Canadian Museum of Civilization's permanent collection.
In 2008, Michelle opened her production company Streel Films with the award-winning documentary, Jackpot. The film premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival and received two Golden Sheaf Awards for Best POV documentary and Outstanding Emerging Filmmakers. Jackpot was also nominated for the 2011 Donald Britton Gemini Award for Best Social Political Documentary.
As an actor Michelle specializes in contemporary movement and has performed in groundbreaking new works with companies such as: Crow's Theatre, Theatre Smith-Gilmour & Modern Times. In 2011 she starred in Theatrefront's theatrical repertory production The Mill that went on to win 4 Dora Awards, including one for Best Independent Production. As an actor Michelle has starred on three cable television series: Paradise Falls, and Moose TV, and on Season 2 of APTN's award-winning drama Blackstone. Most recently, Michelle was an industry panelist/judge for three seasons of CBC's Short Film Faceoff, a nationally televised series celebrating innovations in short filmmaking.
As a curator, Michelle has programmed and curated for the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Dawson City International Shorts Festival and the Victoria Film Festival, and is a programming advisor for Winnipeg Film Group's Cinematheque, Regent Park Film Festival and Reel Canada. Her curatorial focus has been on Indigenous New Media & Cinema from a global perspective. She has curated special programs for the Taiwan Indigenous Festival, The Indigenous Film Archive of Nepal and ImagineNATIVE's Spotlight on South Africa's First People, the Khoi-San.
Throughout her career, Michelle has engaged with her community through involvement with organizations such as ImagineNATIVE Film Festival, City Life's Remix Project, Native Earth Performing Arts and ACTRA's Diversity Committee. In 2006, she worked with the Ontario AIDS Network to coordinate the International AIDS Conference Ontario Scholarship Fund for people living with HIV/AIDS. She has created outreach films for AIDS Network of Ontario, Ontario HIV Treatment Network and selected antipoverty campaigns. In 2015, she worked with the Yukon Government and the Tr'ondek Hwechin First Nation to create a series of short films about the intergenerational effects of the residential school experience. This work was integrated in the high school curriculum across the Yukon Territory.
She is an alumna of the Toronto Film Festival's Talent Lab, the inaugural Tiff STUDIO Producers Program and holds a BFA in Theatre Performance and Film Studies from Concordia University, Montreal. Michelle is the recipient of a Yorkton Festival: Golden Sheaf Award for Outstanding Emerging Filmmaker, the ReelWorld Trailblazers Award and the Chicken in Egg Breakthrough Award. Michelle was selected by Playback Magazine as one of Canada's Top Ten Filmmakers to Watch of 2013, and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) recently named her among the "Great Canadian Filmmakers of the Future."
Michelle is of mixed Algonquin, Metis, French and Irish ancestry. She grew up in Thunder Bay and currently splits her time between Toronto and Northwestern Ontario, Canada.