Jason Ryle is a producer, curator, story editor, and independent arts consultant based in Toronto. He is Anishinaabe from Lake St. Martin, Manitoba. From July 2010 to June 2020, Jason was the Executive Director of imagineNATIVE, an Indigenous-run organization mandated to support Indigenous filmmakers and media artists. In this capacity, Jason oversaw all operational and artistic activities of the annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest showcase of Indigenous screen content. He also oversaw the organization’s year-round initiatives, international partnerships, and special projects, including On-Screen Protocols & Pathways, an influential framework for film and television production. Under his leadership, imagineNATIVE became the global hub for Indigenous film and an integral part of the Canadian industry.
From 2006 until its closure in 2021, Jason was a script reader for the Harold Greenberg Fund (which provided financial support to Canadian narrative screenwriters), which included story development and market assessment. He currently serves on several voluntary boards of directors including as the President of the Toronto Arts Council, as Chair of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, and as a director for The Shine Network and REEL CANADA. Jason is also a member of the Indigenous Advisory for the Toronto International Film Festival.
From 2013 until 2020, he was an Advisor for Indigenous films at the Berlinale. He also oversaw the Indigenous Cinema stand at the European Film Market from 2015-2020, which promoted features and shorts made by Indigenous filmmakers to international sales agents, distributors, and festivals.
As a producer, Jason has produced award-winning short animations (most recently MENEATH: THE HIDDEN ISLAND OF ETHICS) and is currently in development and production on several narrative and documentary projects, including features, series, and VR.
He is also maintaining his curatorial and programming practices, most recently curating the Alanis Obomsawin retrospective (TIFF 2021) and several special Indigenous programs for festivals internationally. In March 2022, Jason joined TIFF as International Programmer, Indigenous Cinema for its 2022 Festival.
In February 2021, Jason received the Clyde Gilmour Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. The award is bestowed to Canadians whose work has in some way enriched the understanding and appreciation of film in their native country.
While at OpenDocLab, Jason is working with Tasha Hubbard on WAVES OF BUFFALO, a transdisciplinary installation looking to recreate the experience of bearing witness to a Great Herd of Buffalo passing by.