Sundance Institute to Host First-Ever Native Producers Workshop

Posted Aug 23, 2011

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Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced that its Native American & Indigenous Program will host its first Native Producers Workshop, August 17 and 18 in Santa Fe, NM. The invitation-only event builds on the Institute’s 30-year tradition of supporting Native American cinema through its Labs and Festival and will focus on the opportunities and challenges unique to producing Native American film, as well as independent cinema in general. The workshop is an extension of Sundance Institute’s offerings for producers, including its annual Creative Producing Labs and Creative Producing Summit.

Among the topics to be addressed are the current climate of producing independent feature films, tax credits and incentives for filming on Native American land, and strategies for getting more Native American films produced and seen. Featured participants include producer Heather Rae (The Dry Land, Frozen River), Chad Burris (Four Sheets to the Wind, Barking Water) and Cara Marcous (Sikumi, On the Ice). The workshop will kick off with a private screening of Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s On the Ice.

“The legacy of Native American cinema proves that these films can be embraced by wider audiences,” said N. Bird Runningwater, Director of the Sundance Institute Native American & Indigenous Program. “The participants we’ve secured have produced outstanding feature films, and we are enormously grateful that they have agreed to share with attendees the valuable lessons they learned along the way.”

“I am honored to participate in the Native Producers Workshop and look forward to helping the Sundance Institute Native American & Indigenous Program encourage and support Native American filmmakers in telling their unique and personal stories,” said Heather Rae, filmmaker (The Dry Land, Frozen River) and Sundance Institute trustee.

The Native Producers Workshop is in collaboration with Robert Redford’s Milagro at Los Luceros, an initiative that focuses on arts as an economic driver and jobs creator in New Mexico.

Sundance Institute Native American & Indigenous Program

Rooted in the recognition of a rich tradition of story telling and artistic expression by Native Americans, Sundance Institute's Native American and Indigenous Program scouts world-wide and across the United States for Indigenous artists with projects that can be supported through the Institute’s Feature Film Program, Documentary Program, Theatre Program, the Independent Producers Conference/Creative Producing Initiative, and Sundance Film Festival. The Program also operates the NativeLab Fellowship established for emerging Native American filmmakers. Filmmakers and projects identified for support include Sterlin Harjo, his Spirit Award-nominated Four Sheets to the Wind and his follow-up feature Barking Water; Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi, his feature debut Eagle vs Shark and his follow-up feature Boy; Billy Luther's award-winning Miss Navajo and his 2nd feature documentary Grab; and Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize-winning Sikumi and his feature debut On the Ice which was awarded the Crystal Bear Award and the Best First Feature Prize at the 61st Berlinale. Forthcoming projects include: Aurora Guerrero's Mosquita y Mari; Sydney Freeland’s Drunktown’s Finest; and Yolanda Cruz’s La Raya. www.sundance.org/native

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

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