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Love Is the First Sacred Lesson

Jess Murwin
2021 | 6 min 50 s
Short Documentary




Jess Murwin

Jess Murwin

Jess Murwin is a non-binary Indigenous artist and curator of Mi’kmaq, Scottish, Welsh and Irish descent, currently based in Montreal, Quebec. They received formal artistic training from Notre Dame de la Tilloye (France) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Canada), as well as informal training on various sets, at artist centres and in workshops in Canada, Europe and India. Their work is largely community-based, combining futurism and social engagement through a variety of mediums.

David Oppenheim

David Oppenheim

David Oppenheim is a producer at the National Film Board of Canada’s Ontario Studio in Toronto, where his recent credits include Draw Me Close (Tribeca Storyscapes, Venice International Film Festival), the Webby Award-winning Universe Within (the final chapter of the NFB’s HIGHRISE project), and the interactive documentary The Space We Hold, which was awarded the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award, Best Original Interactive Production at the Canadian Screen Awards, and the Columbia University Digital Dozen Breakthroughs in Storytelling Award.

David is currently producing a number of creative non-fiction film, interactive, and immersive projects and leading the studio’s immersive lab. XR projects underway include the full production version of Draw Me Close, The Book of Distance, a room-scale, interactive pilgrimage across generations, Agence, an experimental simulation in virtual reality and artificial intelligence, and a new collaboration that combines immersive theatre, creative non-fiction storytelling and VR. He is a past resident at the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab.

Kate Vollum
Associate Producer

Kate Vollum

Kate Vollum is an Associate Producer with the National Film Board of Canada. She has worked on many innovative projects, including the groundbreaking interactive doc HIGHRISE (2015), which won two Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, the experimental series Souvenir (2015), in which Indigenous creators re-worked NFB archival footage into new and compelling short films about Indigenous identity, and the NFB/CFC Open Immersion VR lab (2016), which saw six Indigenous artists from Canada and six artists of colour from the US participate in an intensive virtual reality residency.

Most recently, she has been the Associate Producer for Urban. Indigenous. Proud (2018), five films created by Indigenous filmmakers in partnership with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres; Throat, a collaboration between filmmaker Chelsea McMullan and artist/activist Tanya Tagaq; This Is Not a Movie, about journalist Robert Fisk, directed by Yung Chang; Postings from Home, an intimate and impressionistic documentary by Kelly O’Brien; and Ojiibikaan, a film about the ways in which Indigenous food practices can transform our relationship to food and land.

Anita Lee
Executive Producer

Anita Lee

Anita Lee is Executive Producer and Head of the Ontario Studio in Toronto for the National Film Board of Canada. She is a multi-award-winning producer with 20 years’ experience in the industry, and the founder of the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. In co-production with the CFC Media Lab, Anita led the NFB’s first foray into interactive production as one of the creator-producers of North America’s first interactive feature film, Late Fragment (2006), which premiered at TIFF and SXSW.

More recent interactive work as producer/executive producer includes: The Deeper They Bury Me (2014), which premiered at NYFF and received one of Columbia University’s Digital Dozen Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards; The Universe Within (2015), winner of the Webby Award for Best Use of Interactive Video and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Interactive Production; and The Space We Hold (2016), winner of the Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award for Interactive Documentary, a Digital Dozen Breakthroughs in Storytelling Award, and Best Original Interactive Production at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Anita also helms the NFB’s Creative Non-Fiction Immersive Lab in Toronto, which collaborated with the CFC and the Ford Foundation on the Open Immersion VR residency lab and with the National Theatre (UK) on the Creative Doc VR lab, both in 2016. She is executive producer of the latter’s critically acclaimed VR project, Draw Me Close (2017), which premiered at Tribeca Storyscapes and at the Venice International Film Festival’s Venice Virtual Reality program.


Written and Directed by
Jess Murwin

Produced by
David Oppenheim

Executive Producer
Anita Lee

Associate Producer
Kate Vollum

Director of Photography
Jess Murwin

Sound Recordist
Jess Murwin/Charly Gilpin

Jess Murwin

Sound Designer
Amanda Ann-Min Wong

Additional Editing
Karina Garcia Casanova

Kennlin Barlow
Lenita Denny
Duane Isaac
Paige Isaac
Misiksk Jadis
Isaac Jeddore-Gould
Dante Joe-Pierro
Geordy Marshall
Jennifer Murrin
Tyler Patterson
Margaret Robinson
John R Sylliboy
Rosie Sylliboy
Stephanie Vautour
Rowan White

Production Coordinators
Katie Murray
Frances Nyarko-Mensah

Manager, Studio Operations
Mark Wilson

Production Supervisor
Marcus Matyas

Technical Coordinator
Kevin Riley

Studio Administrator
Patricia Bourgeois
Andrew Martin-Smith

Program Mentors
Sisa Bueno
Lauren Hutchinson
Roslyn Kalloo
Sarah Rothberg
Kerri Sakamotto
Ziv Schneider
Pat Shiu

Program Production Assistant
Rand Jitan

Post Sound & Picture
SIM Toronto

Online editor
Darren Hinchy

Arlene Moelker

Finishing Producer
Mateusz Sklarzyk

Re-recording Mixer
James Bastable

Assistant Re-recording mixer
Will Stephens

Project Coordinator
Louise Finn

Head of Operations
Alex Aslund

General Manager
Peter Gibson


Jennifer Mair

Marketing Managers
Gabrielle Harvey
Laurianne Désormiers

Marketing Coordinator
Eric Bondo

Social Media Strategist
Hannah Martin

Legal Counsel
Peter Kallianiotis

Otherly Title Design
Yazmin Monet

“Honour Song”
Written & Performed by Jeremy Dutcher
Courtesy of Jeremy Dutcher

Press Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.

  • About POV Spark

    The interactive arm of the iconic PBS series, POV Spark creates and advances experiential forms of storytelling, programming, and distribution, redefining US public media to be more inclusive of emerging technologies and interactive makers. POV films and projects have won 42 Emmy Awards, 25 George Foster Peabody Awards, 14 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, three Academy Awards and the first-ever George Polk Documentary Film Award. POV is a production of American Documentary (AmDoc), a national non-profit media arts organization that strives to make essential documentaries accessible as a catalyst for public discourse. AmDoc collaborates with passionate filmmakers to amplify their voices, and to nurture the nonfiction community. Learn more at pbs.org/pov, access POV Spark projects, and follow @povdocs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.