Spirit Award Nomination "Best Supporting Actress" Special Jury Prize for Acting - Sundance 2007
TAMARA PODEMSKI is a multi-disciplinary artist born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but splits her time between LA and "home." She calls upon her Ojibway/Israeli roots to inspire her art, creating a fusion of spirituality, politics, and self-empowerment. She is a graduate of the Claude Watson School for the Performing Arts in Toronto, where she studied theatre, dance and music throughout its 10-year program.
Tamara’s acting has spanned across all mediums with such credits as DANCE ME OUTSIDE, THE REZ, READY OR NOT, NORTH OF 60, MOOSE TV, RABBIT FALL, NEW AMSTERDAM, numerous theatre productions, and, most notably, as a member of the Original Canadian Cast of RENT, as well as playing Maureen in the Broadway Company of RENT. Her latest role in FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND garnered her the Special Jury Prize for Acting at the Sundance Film Festival, making her the first Canadian actress and the first Native American to receive such an honour. Tamara also received a Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, to which she proudly lost to Cate Blanchett.
Her singing can be heard as the lead singer of the Los Angeles band SPIRIT NATION, whose album WINTER MOONS was nominated for a 2001 Aboriginal Music Award, on the solo album SPIRIT VOICES which she released under the pseudonym “Ceshia Anaquod,” and on her latest self-titled, 4-time nominated album, TAMARA, which she released under her own record label, MUKWA MUSIC. Tamara’s music video, MEEGWETCH, has garnered awards both in the States and Canada and her latest recognition came from the 2006 Aboriginal Music Awards in the category of Best Female Artist.
As a songwriter, Tamara’s songs have been featured on the TV series THE REZ, THE SEVENTH GENERATION, MOCCASIN FLATS, RABBIT FALL, and the feature documentary GREEN, GREEN WATER. She was also the lyricist for SPIRIT NATION, writing all 10 songs in Saulteaux (with a little bit of Hebrew, too), and was both co-composer and lyricist on SPIRIT VOICES which she also wrote in the Saulteaux language (and, of course, a little bit of Hebrew). She wrote and co-composed another 9 original songs for her latest album TAMARA, (this time in English), receiving an Aboriginal Music Award for Best Songwriter. She regularly composes original songs for theatre productions, as well as for numerous songwriting workshops and music seminars across Indian Country.
Tamara’s dancing has taken her across Canada, the US, and Europe as a member of the Canadian Dance Tapestry of which she was a member for 5 years. She has also been a lead dancer in the nationally televised ABORIGINAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS since 1995. Other credits include THE ABORIGINAL DANCE PROJECT at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Iroquoian Contemporary Ballet KAHA:WI, ANGELS OF THE WORLD at the Harbourfront Centre, and the US Touring Company of SPIRIT – THE SEVENTH FIRE.
As a choreographer she has created several pieces for the ABORIGINAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, numerous theatre productions, and for Native Youth across Canada who participate in her and her sister’s Hip-Hop Dance Workshops. She also teaches dance through her dance studio, BODY ALIVE, which takes place in whatever city she happens to be in at the time.
As a community worker, Tamara joined with her sisters to create SPREAD THE WORD PRODUCTIONS which uses unique forms of multi-media to teach Youth about Aboriginal issues and Holocaust education. This sharing is done through hands-on workshops, keynote addresses and panel discussions.
Currently, Tamara is developing a variety of projects with her two sisters, Jennifer and Sarah. She intends to finish her fourth album by the end of 2010. All in good time.