Nêhiyaw actor, choreographer, director and educator Michael Greyeyes will receive the 2018 August Schellenberg Award of Excellence at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence (the “Augie”) is an annual prize that recognizes significant professional and personal achievement by an Indigenous actor, of any gender, from Turtle Island (North America). Michael Greyeyes will receive his award at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival’s Awards Presentation on Sunday, October 21 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
“August ‘Augie’ Schellenberg is an icon, but to me he is much more than this,” says Michael Greyeyes. “Augie was my friend and mentor. In his work, and the way he lived his life. I learned from him in countless ways. This award is a profound honor and affirms that Augie’s commitment to excellence and his spirit of generosity remain with me.”
In a career spanning 31 years, Michael Greyeyes has moved fluidly between stage and screen, from his work as a dancer with The National Ballet of Canada to diverse performances in Bruce McDonald’s Dance Me Outside, to his title role in Crazy Horse (TNT), and for acclaimed directors such as John Sayles, Chris Eyre, and Terrence Malick.
His selected directing credits include: Pimooteewin (The Journey), the first Cree language opera with libretto by Tomson Highway, Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts) and Seven Seconds (2010 imagineNATIVE). In 2010, Greyeyes founded Signal Theatre and has created a number of full-length theatre works, including from thine eyes, Nôhkom, and A Soldier’s Tale for the National Arts Centre, and Bearing, a searing exploration of Canada’s Indian residential school legacy for the 2017 Luminato Festival. He is an Associate Professor in the Theatre department at York University, where he teaches devised theatre and screen performance. Professor Greyeyes is published in the Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Research in Canada, and Performing Indigeneity: New Essays on Canadian Theatre, Vol. 5.
Most recently, he has appeared in AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and in an acclaimed performance as legendary Hunkpapa leader Sitting Bull, in Woman Walks Ahead (A24) co-starring Jessica Chastain, that received its world premiere at TIFF 2017. He can next be seen in the third season of HBO’s True Detective and as the lead in Jeff Barnaby’s feature film Blood Quantum.
The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence was launched in partnership with Joan Karasevich Schellenberg to honor her late husband, actor August (Augie) Schellenberg, and the spirit of his work. This annual award is presented to gifted Indigenous actors based on the longevity and impact of their careers, as well as their professionalism and involvement in mentorship and community work. Past Augie recipients include Tantoo Cardinal in 2015, Tom Jackson in 2016, and Tina Keeper in 2017.