My name is Jesse Wente. I’m a Anishinaabe from Toronto. My family comes from the Serpent River First
Nation in Northern Ontario. I am a writer, broadcaster, curator, advocate
and the Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. I’ve spent almost all of my career trying
to make space for storytellers that haven’t had space or have been denied space. Specifically for the indigenous community
and it’s really through that work that I gained a real connection with the community in a
way that I had struggled to as a young person. Those connections are really what ended up
allowing me to feel comfortable on the air as a public figure to start actually discussing
Indigenous issues. I don’t know if it would have been my place. I’ve been blessed and privelged to be able
to take that journey through The Arts. My first memory is watching a movie. I would have been three. By the time I was ready to go to university,
I honestly did not know what else I could do. In the job board on the university campus
there was a posting for an associate producer position at CBC radio. They were looking for an indigenous specific
candidate, so I applied. The film critic at metro morning was going
on leave and someone pointed and said “Hey you Didn’t you attend film school?” and I’m like
“Yes.” And he went “Great. You’re gonna be the film critic.” And that’s how I became a film critic. It wasn’t intentional at all. Since that time 23 years later I still appear
every week on Metro Morning which is a pretty good run. An enormous part of who I’ve become, the life
I’ve led since then started in earnest at the University. I wrote my first script at U of T, I met my
wife there. I think what I would say to students entering
the university is to just live it as fully as you can and be open to what your life could
be. If you know what you’re passionate about there’s
probably a fairly broad way that that can actually apply to your life. I’ve spent now my entire career around movies. Not necessarily in the way that I would have
imagined. But I can’t say this has not been a fantastic
life. It’s unbelievable to me. The journey has been extraordinary.