The Native Program recently brought together five producers whose films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and continued on to the global marketplace. The convening focused on a discussion about the producers’ experiences and we brainstormed as a group about how the Native Program could offer further support to films as they endeavor to be made and seen. The producers in attendance were Billy Luther (Miss Navajo; GRAB); Chad Burris (Four Sheets to the Wind; Barking Water); Peter and Benjamin Bratt (La Mission); and Cliff Curtis (Eagle Vs. Shark; Boy).
The meeting began with the burning of sweet grass to honor the land we had gathered on and the ancestors from whom we descend. As the daylong meeting progressed, the discussion ranged from the packaging and financing of films to getting films distributed and seen by audiences. The theme of community outreach was repeated often in a conversation about building audiences. Blogging and social media were also mentioned as keys to building audiences, as they have become critical to building a multiplier effect.
The question of how to identify and nurture the next generation of filmmakers emerged: Where are they? How do we find them? As many tribal nations are hosting filmmaker training and media workshops, it seems the next generation of filmmakers is out there. We hope that they will find their way to Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program.
Photo Caption: Bird Runningwater, Billy Luther, Chad Burris, Peter Bratt, Benjamin Bratt, and Cliff Curtis.