Actor and musician Gary Farmer will receive the 2022 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. Gary Farmer will receive his award at the imagineNATIVE Awards Presentation on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Gary Dale Farmer’s career has spanned more than four decades. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the development of First Nations media in Canada and is the founding director of the urban, Indian radio network Aboriginal Voices Radio Network. He has been nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards for Best Supporting Male.
Gary Farmer was born in Ohsweken, Ontario, into the Cayuga Nation and the Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy. Farmer attended Syracuse University and Toronto Metropolitan University where he studied photography and film production. Farmer’s first acting role was in On The Rim of a Curse, the 1976 play about the Beothuk. His first major television role was on CBC’s Spirit Bay (1984). He subsequently played police captain Joe Stonetree on the syndicated TV series Forever Knight (1992 – 1994) and Chief Tom in the CBC First Nations TV series The Rez (1996). Farmer is best known for his role as the spiritual, Native American guide Nobody in Dead Man (1995) directed by Jim Jarmusch. Farmer reprised the role for a cameo in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), also directed by Jarmusch.
Recent credits include Resident Alien, as a series regular, for NBC Universal/Syfy Network, Reservation Dogs for FX/Hulu and the independent films Cowboys, Border House Reach, First Cow, Blood Quantum, and The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw.
The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence was launched in partnership with Joan Karasevich Schellenberg to honour 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, Tina Keeper in 2017, Michael Greyeyes in 2018, Michelle Thrush in 2019, Lorne Cardinal in 2020, and Dr. Shirley Cheechoo in 2021.
Montreal-born Mohawk actor August Schellenberg performed in hundreds of theatre, film and television productions throughout his long career including Saving Grace, Free Willy, Black Robe, North of 60 and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, and played the titular role in an all-First Nations version of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.