James M. Fortier


James M. Fortier

James M. Fortier is an enrolled member of the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation (formerly known as Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation), located in Ontario, Canada. Born in Ontario and raised in the Chicago area, James set out for California at the ripe age of 20 to complete film school at San Francisco State University. His first documentary, Alcatraz Is Not An Island screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2001 and aired nationally on PBS and APTN in Canada. For nearly 30 years James has been a Director of Photography on thousands of productions for Fortune 500 Companies, broadcast and cable television, PBS and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Canada. 

Since 1995, James’ documentaries have focused primarily on Native American and environmental issues. He has won numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards and most recently the DuPont Columbia Award For Broadcast Journalism as episode Producer/Director of Bad Sugar, part of the national PBS health series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?  James’ latest documentary, Gifts From the Elders (2013) screened at several film festivals and aired on PBS in Minnesota.

Other documentary works include the six hour PBS Ojibwe series Waasa Inaabidaa: We Look In All Directions, Voices for the Land, Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire, Playing Pastime: American Indians, Softball, and Survival, Green Green Water, and two documentaries for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Pulling Together, and Gathering Together. In 2007 James was the Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where he conducted a four week video production lab for the American Indian Studies Department course, American Indian Stereotypes in Film, and presented several of his documentaries for students and faculty.  

Job Title: 
Tribal Affiliation: