NSI Aboriginal Documentary - Faculty

Lisa Meeches, Aboriginal Training Programs Advisor


As one of the most dynamic and respected Aboriginal producers in Canada, Lisa Meeches is an executive producer and the president of Eagle Vision Inc. and Meeches Video Productions, two Winnipeg-based production companies, and co-president of Century Street Distribution.

Lisa has executive produced a series of one-off documentaries, television specials and corporate videos.

Among her numerous awards and nominations, Lisa produced four-time Canadian Screen Awards nominee and a two-time winner docu-drama We Were Children; Canadian Screen Award winning TV movie Jack; and Gemini Award winning TV movie Elijah.

She also received critical acclaim for a number of past projects including The Sharing Circle, Canada’s longest running Aboriginal TV series which she also hosted, and Tipi Tales, a Parent’s Choice award-winning children’s series.

Eagle Vision also co-produces movies for television and theatrical release. Projects include Walk All Over Me (2007), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Blue State (2006), and the Academy Award®-winning feature film Capote (2006).

Lisa received the 2013 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction’s Circle of Inspiration Award for her work on NSI’s New Voices course, the 2009 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the area of Creative Communications, the 2009 University of Manitoba’s Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award, the Women in Film and Television 2009 Crystal Award for Mentorship, and the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communication.

Lisa is also the executive director of the Manito Ahbee Festival and sits on the national board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Elise Swerhone, Program Manager


As manager of programs and development, Elise runs Shaw Media Diverse TV Director and is co-manager of the NSI Aboriginal Documentary course.

Her extensive work includes the feature documentaries TuTu Much and Ballet High as well as several documentaries for CBC’s The Nature of Things.

She has made over 30 documentaries which have been shown around the world including work for the NFB, Global TV, CBC, HGTV, Vision, National Geographic and Discovery US.

Her dramatic work includes Miss Manitoba, Now & Then, The Mayor of Odessa, episodes of Adventures of Shirley Holmes and the MOW My Mother’s Ghost. Elise is also an alumna of NSI DramaLab.

Ursula Lawson, Program Manager

Ursula has been with NSI since 2004 and is a manager of programs and development, working on many of NSI’s courses.

As program manager of NSI New Voices and co-manager of NSI Aboriginal Documentary, she has been instrumental in helping NSI develop and deliver culturally sensitive film and television training to emerging Aboriginal film and content creators.

In 2013 Ursula was honoured to receive the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Circle of Inspiration award along with colleagues Lisa Meeches and Melissa Kajpust for their contribution to the NSI New Voices course.

Ursula previously managed the NSI Aboriginal Journalism pilot program; coordinated NSI Global Marketing, NSI Totally Television, NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative and NSI Pitch to Win! She is also secretary of the NSI Board of Directors.

Prior to working at the National Screen Institute, Ursula held management positions in both the hospitality and healthcare industries.

Brendon Sawatzky, Producer Advisor


As director of programming at NSI, Brendon directs the development of all new programs and is accountable for the delivery of all NSI courses.

Prior to his current position at NSI, Brendon focused on producing film and television. This resulted in producer credits on six feature films, a television sitcom, two television movies and a number of television specials, short films and music videos.

He previously worked for the National Screen Institute as a program manager and before that at the Winnipeg Film Group. A more recent role was as a producer for the National Film Board. He is also the chair of Film Training Manitoba.

Lisa Jackson, Director Advisor


With a background in documentary including acclaimed short Suckerfish and Reservation Soldiers for CTV, Lisa expanded into fiction with Savage which won a 2010 Genie award for best short film.

Named one of Playback Magazine’s 10 to watch in 2012, Lisa’s genre-blending films include current affairs, animation and a musical.

Her work has played at festivals internationally including SXSW, Berlinale, London BFI and Margaret Mead, and aired on CBC, CTV, APTN, TMN, Knowledge and SCN. In 2012 the ReelWorld Festival named her a trailblazer.

She is currently directing the drama sequences for the APTN/ZDF eight-part docudrama series 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus based on the best-selling book by Charles C. Mann.

She is Anishinaabe, has completed the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab and has a BFA in film production from SFU.