Ross Chaney is a 2013 Time Warner Native Producer Fellow. Click here to apply for the 2014 Fellowship.
Being a part of the Native Program at Sundance Institute has been an opportunity of a lifetime because it creates a diverse community of support for producing fresh independent films with Native storytellers. As one of the 2013 Native Producer Fellows, I had the honor of attending the Creative Producing Summit that took place August 2-4 at the Sundance Resort in Utah. I was joined by three other Native Fellows: Ciara Lacy, Jonny Cournoyer, and Jeffrey Palmer. We arrived from Hawai’i, Los Angeles, Oklahoma, and Santa Fe, then got our cabin in the mountain and started catching up. A large part of this Fellowship is about creating community and lasting relationships with not only leading industry professionals but also with other Native directors and producers.
Surrounded by mountains that touched the clouds, we would spend the next three days walking between the flowing streams, in an intense non-stop schedule with over 40 top professionals, producers, and directors of the independent film world. What made this Summit unique were the small group exchanges, one-on-one meetings, and the electric atmosphere all weekend long. A big thank you to all the Sundance Institute staff that worked tirelessly to ensure our time on the mountain was the very best.
Each day we had structured conversations around critical issues producers face, such as financing, distribution, audience engagement, and sustainability. We had breakfast and lunches that focused on educating us about the latest industry trends and sharing personal experiences that were relevant to our film producing challenges. Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere), a producer/director, was an ideal mentor for me because she not only advised me on the technical issues of my project, I am thyweapon, but gave me examples from her experience that were exactly what I needed to move forward with the next step of production.
If you are an emerging film producer there is still time to apply for this fellowship. Applications for the 2014 Time Warner Producer Fellowship close October 14th. This is a new initiative that identifies emerging Native producers and supports their projects and professional development throughout out their careers. All Fellows will be considered for ongoing support and opportunities within the Institute’s Creative Producing Initiative and Creative Producers Lab after they participate in the Native Program’s Producer Fellowship.