Kickstart Rugged Guy

Jason Asenap is a Comanche/Muskogee Creek writer and filmmaker originally from Walters, Oklahoma, but now residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His project Rugged Guy was selected for the 2011 Sundance Institute NativeLab. Click here to learn more and help fund this film.

I always knew I was a writer. I didn’t always know I was a filmmaker.

Because of this, what I end up doing is merging all of my influences to make something unique and new. My creative output is a mixture of Goddard, Woody Allen, Link Wray, James Welch, T.C. Cannon, and Jack Kerouac, all rolled into a Comanche/Muskogee Creek tortilla (or should I say frybread?). Oh yeah, and I’m influenced by the place I live, the beautiful state of New Mexico. And let’s not forget Oklahoma, which is where I was born and will always be in my blood.

2011 NativeLab Creative Advisor Taika Waititi and Lab Fellow Jason Asenap.

What I’m trying to do is create the best work of cinema that I can. I’ve received some great help from some pretty terrific filmmakers in their own right--my producer Blackhorse Lowe, a Sundance veteran, and my right-hand man, director of photography, Jonathan Sims. We are all Native Americans, trying to make a good film right here in the heart of Albuquerque, New Mexico, but at the same time we want to be clear: We strive to make good cinema. We are telling a universal story.

And what is this story? Well, it’s a story about being bold when the time is right, and recognizing your inner strength and talents. It’s a universal story about having doubt in yourself and your dreams, and rising to the occasion because you always had it in you. This story is about finding your “mojo.”

We are drawing from the urban Native community here in Albuquerque and into the state of New Mexico, and even further than that into Indian country with our families in Acoma, Navajoland, Oklahoma, and Texas. We have received tons of support be it requests to participate as crew, actors, financial pledges, or just shout outs and encouraging words of support.

We still need help.

We’re not quite at our goal on our Kickstarter campaign, but we’re hopeful. We meet, plan, set goals, and think positive. We, like the film’s theme, are being bold and reaching for the stars. We plan to make this film. How would you like to be part of this unique story? Not only a story about being a modern Native artist trying to make it in these crazy times we live in, but the story of three Native Americans trying to tell a contemporary, funny, intelligent story about us, written by one of us, directed by one of us, acted by one of us, produced by one of us, and shot by one of us. How cool would it be to participate and support us in telling our own thoroughly modern and inspirational story?

Lead photo: