“Sensei” is an award-winning short film about Natalie Olson, the first Canadian with Down syndrome to achieve her black belt in karate, and her coach and lifelong friend, Sensei Heather Fidyk. Blazing a trail for Canadian para-athletes to compete on the international stage, the two women prepare for Natalie’s next big challenge – grading to her third-degree black belt. Alongside Natalie, karate student Conrad Group trains for his first-degree black belt, hoping to eventually join his hero on the world stage.
Director: Jill Roberts
Writer: Jill Roberts
Producer: Natalie Olson
Festival Status: Winner, Best Short Documentary
Jill Roberts is a writer, filmmaker, and founder of The Writing Department and Exploding Helicopter Productions. After a successful career as a copywriter and corporate video producer, she is returning to her roots in film and TV.
In 2021, she completed “Sensei,” an award-winning documentary short about Natalie Olson, the first Canadian with Down Syndrome to achieve her black belt.
Jill is currently developing “Shelter,” a dramatic series based on the true story of first responders in Calgary, Alberta, and “The Box Set,” a trilogy of female-led genre features set in Alberta, Canada. In 2020, she wrote, directed, and edited an award-winning short proof of concept for one of these features, called “B*TCH.”