Gil Cardinal

Radio and Television Arts ’71

Published on January 31, 2019

Honorary Diploma ’00

When film director Gil Cardinal started out, an aboriginal making films about the aboriginal community was relatively rare. With over 30 years in television and film, the award-winning director of Métis descent became a role model in the field.

Cardinal made films on various topics in his early career, but a project about children and child welfare began to focus his attention on telling aboriginal stories. “Before I asked anyone else to bare their soul, I thought I should do that myself,” he said. The result was Foster Child, his story of the search for his birth family.

Cardinal worked at the National Film Board Edmonton as a producer and mentor. In the 2000s, he directed episodic dramatic television. His formidable body of work included films such as The Spirit Within, David with F.A.S. and Totem.

Cardinal died in Edmonton on November 21, 2015. To recognize his role over the years as a mentor to other filmmakers, his friends and colleagues created the Gil Cardinal Legacy Fund, established to help emerging indigenous filmmakers produce a demo for their first film, drama or documentary.