imagineNATIVE hires Niki Little and Naomi Johnson for senior roles

The organization also announced that Jason Ryle has been promoted to executive director.

niki-little-imaginenativeimagineNATIVE, the Indigenous content-focused festival, has hired two senior staff members for its year-round operations.

Niki Little (pictured) has been appointed artistic director to oversee the festival’s artistic programming. She takes over the role from Jason Ryle, who has moved from artistic and managing director of imagineNATIVE to executive director. Naomi Johnson has been tapped to serve in the newly created role of associate director, working alongside Ryle on daily operations and execution of the annual festival.

Little is of Anishininew and English descent from Kistiganwacheeng in Garden Hill First Nation and is a founding member of Winnipeg-based artistic group The Ephemerals. Johnson is Kanienʼkehá꞉ka from Six Nations in Ontario and recently served as artistic director and co-executive director of the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.

The organization has also announced its programming team for the 2019 festival, taking place Oct. 22 to 27 in Toronto. Programmers alongside Little are associate professor Pauline Clague, author and producer Tom Mcleod, L.A.-based assistant curator Adam Piron, filmmaker Ariel Smith, writer/director/producer Trudy Stewart and imagineNATIVE programming coordinator Judith Schuyler. This will mark the festival’s 20th year.

imagineNATIVE is among the three Indigenous organizations that has recently partnered with Netflix. Announced at the Banff World Media Festival, the partnership will allow imagineNATIVE to run professional development programs for filmmakers over the next three years.