Sundance Institute Announces 2011 NativeLab Fellows, Expands Workshops & Screenings for Indigenous A

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Los Angeles, CA. — Sundance Institute announced today the four fellows and projects selected for the 2011 NativeLab Fellowship. Artists selected will be part of a development program aimed at providing continuous and direct support to Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native film artists. Offering a unique perspective and a vital piece of the American cinematic landscape, this year’s Fellows and projects are: Jason Asenap (Comanche/Muskogee Creek) – Rugged Guy, Daniel Edward Hyde (Navajo) – The Way Things Are, Ty Sanga (Native Hawaiian) – Kalama Brothers, and Tracy Rector (Seminole/Mississippi Choctaw) – Clearwater.

Supporting Native American artists has been a key aspect to the Institute’s dedication to the development of emerging artists.  Throughout its history, the Institute has actively sought out Native American and Indigenous storytellers and to provide a setting to share stories of their experiences, build strong communities, and support the production and presentation of their work. To continue this work, Sundance Institute will be holding the NativeLab, as well as public events and workshops throughout the month of May to showcase Native cinema and cultivate the next generation of Native American artists.

“At this time in our cultural history, people are hungry for stories that offer a complete picture of who we are as nation, society and culture, and to us it’s imperative that the Native perspective be a part of that picture,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute. “What resonates for us at Sundance Institute, is that these stories are authentic and personal and the filmmakers are not afraid to take risks.”

As part of the first stage of development in the Fellowship, filmmakers will receive guidance from seasoned artists in an intensive five-day workshop to be held May 23-27, 2011 on the homelands of the Mescalero Apache Tribe. The second stage of the Fellowship advances the careers of the Fellows during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, through the Native Forum, a vibrant space where Indigenous filmmakers and industry come together to share their expertise with one another at the Festival.

“This month, the full circle of our program will be visible as we take several journeys across Indian Country — seasoned alumni of our program will be advising four emerging filmmakers for our Lab, and we’ll expand the Native Forum beyond its presence at the Festival by taking it on the road,” said Bird Runningwater, Director, Native American and Indigenous Program. “We are completing our Indigenous film circle by offering public workshops and screenings around the country, cultivating tomorrow’s filmmakers.”

Creative advisors for the 2011 Sundance Institute NativeLab are Joan Tewkesbury, Sterlin Harjo, Taika Waititi, and Allison Anders.

The participants and projects selected for Sundance Institute NativeLab Fellowship:

Rugged Guy / Jason Asenap (Comanche/Muskogee Creek), Writer/Director – A Native writer finally breaks his writer’s block when confronted by one rugged guy.

Jason Asenap is a Comanche/Muskogee Creek writer and filmmaker originally from Walters, Okla. but now residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in English, and he is currently studying Native American Art History at the University of New Mexico. In 2006 and 2007, Asenap was a participant in the Institute of American Indian Arts/Disney/ABC Summer Television and Film workshop. In addition to the project he is bringing to the Lab, he is working on a documentary on the history and influence of the Comanche Nation on the Native American Church, funded by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

The Way Things Are I Daniel Edward Hyde (Navajo), Writer/Director – A young and restless City Indian heads to the Rez to kill time and brain cells while dealing with the facts of life in the modern world.

Daniel Edward Hyde is of Navajo and Belizean descent and was raised in the cities of Tucson, Houston, San Diego and Phoenix where he developed his artistic tastes in urban surroundings. His artwork is heavily influenced by his heritage, with a mother from the Navajo Reservation and a father from the Caribbean.  As a student at the University of Arizona, he won an award for video editing from the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and Museum of Contemporary Art. A graduate of the University of Arizona Media Arts Department in 2007, he has dedicated himself to the craft of filmmaking, performing jobs ranging from weddings to documentaries. His most noticeable accomplishment was the writing, editing and composing of Fast Women, a 2010 documentary on elite female marathoners that won best documentary at the 2010 Mammoth Film Festival.

Kalama Brothers / Ty Sanga (Hawaiian), Writer/Director – Aware that his sole guardian, Grandma Rose’s health is failing, Maka tries to reconnect with his estranged family –despite his brother’s disapproval–in order to avoid the foster care system.

Ty Sanga is a filmmaker who was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i. His passion for filmmaking began as an Ethnic Studies Major at the University of Hawai’i where he was exposed to documentaries that depicted minority struggles. These inspiring documentaries made him realize that film has the power to give a voice to those that are normally voiceless. He focused that passion at The Academy for Creative Media by making films that address the issues that challenge Hawai’i’s multicultural fabric while exploring the unique qualities that make it important to preserve. He graduated from the University of Hawai’i in Ethnic Studies and earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Film Production from Chapman University. His short film Stones screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Clearwater / Tracy Rector (Seminole/Mississippi Choctaw), Writer/Director/Producer – Set in the ancient waters of the Puget Sound, Clearwater tells the story of a people’s ability to continually adapt in the face of encroaching changes.

Tracy Rector is an Urban Native of mixed race descent (Seminole/Choctaw/African American/French/Hungarian/Irish).  Tracy attended Antioch’s First Peoples Program at Muckleshoot Tribal College for her MAEd in Native American Education. Her focus was collaborative media and identity exploration with at risk Native youth. With her first feature projects, Tracy brought oral tradition into a contemporary storytelling format while also identifying how the Coast Salish communities wanted to be involved in the filmmaking process. Her films have had national broadcast and distribution with Independent Lens, National PBS, National Geographic’s All Roads Project and on the world festival circuit.  She is the recipient of the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice. Tracy was raised in Seattle and Albuquerque, both homes have inspired her artistic and cultural vision. She currently works and lives in Seattle with her two boys.

Upcoming public events showcasing Native and Indigenous cinema:

Boy and La Mission
Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue
May 12, 2011, 6:15 p.m., National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Tickets can be purchased here
As part of Film Forward, a joint venture of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and  Sundance Institute, Taika Waititi’s Boy will screen at the National Museum of the American Indian and Peter Bratt’s La Mission will screen at the American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery, both located on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway.

La Mission
May 16, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
May 17, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue
Celebration! Cinema, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
As part of Film Forward in Michigan, and in collaboration with the Ziibiwing Cultural Center and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan. All events free and open to the public.

Workshop on Writing for Television
May 21, 2011, 11:00 a.m.
Harwood Museum – 238 Ledoux Street, Taos, New Mexico
Prior to a screening of Taika Waititi’s Boy will be a Meet and Greet with Karen Horne from NBC/Universal on Writing for Television. This workshop and screening will be co-hosted by Milagro at Los Luceros. 

May 21, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, New Mexico
The Native Program and Milagro at Los Luceros co-present a community screening of Taika Waititi’s Boy followed by a conversation with the writer/director. *Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first served.

Community screening of Boy
Inn of the Mountain Gods, Mescalero, New Mexico
May 25, 2011
As part of hosting the Sundance Institute’s Native Lab, Sundance Institute will hold a free screening for the Mescalero Apache Tribe.

About Sundance Institute Native American and 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.

Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue
Film Forward is a cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of film and conversation with filmmakers. Filmmakers connect with audiences and open doors to new ideas, stories, and perspectives by traveling to fourteen locations around the world, screening a collection of ten independent U.S. and international films. Film Forward is an Initiative of Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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