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Indigenous Program

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Indigenous

Program

The Sundance Institute’s commitment to supporting Indigenous artists is woven throughout our history. Indigenous filmmakers have long been involved in the Institute, going back to Larry Littlebird (Laguna/Santo Domingo Pueblo) and Chris Spotted Eagle (Houmas Nation), who participated in the first meetings founding the Sundance Institute. Following president and founder Robert Redford’s original vision, the Institute has remained committed to supporting the voices of Indigenous artists.

Full Circle Fellowship

The Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program aims to support the next generation of Indigenous American storytellers through the Full Circle Fellowship, which provides opportunities for three fellows to explore a career as a filmmaker, such as:

  • Attendance at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival*
  • A set internship at the Native Lab to gain hands-on film production experience*
  • A trip to Los Angeles with a schedule of production facilities tours, meetings with industry mentors, and film screenings.*
  • Mentorship from the Indigenous Program staff.

Merata Mita Fellowship

The Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship for Indigenous Artists pays tribute to the immense artistic contributions and memory of Merata Mita (Ngāti Pikiao/Ngāi Te Rangi). Merata served as an advisor and artistic director to Sundance Institute’s Native Filmmakers Lab from 2000 to 2009, where she mentored and developed some of the top Indigenous talent in today’s film industry. In her time as a screenwriter and director herself, she is one of the first Māori woman to write and direct a dramatic feature film.

Native Filmmakers Lab

The Indigenous Program has built and sustained an indigenous film circle, which now spans over three generations. The cycle of work begins by scouting for and identifying indigenous artists, bringing them through the mechanisms of support at Sundance Institute to get their work made and shown, then bringing the filmmakers and their work back to native lands. The Native Filmmakers Lab has been a vital part of supporting indigenous filmmakers since 2004.

The Native Filmmakers Lab is currently being reimagined; we will not be accepting applications for 2021. Please check back next year, and feel free to email indigenous_program@sundance.org with any questions.

Support for the Indigenous Program

The Sundance Institute Indigenous Program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, WarnerMedia, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Nia Tero Foundation, Indigenous Screen Office, SAGindie, New Zealand Film Commission, Jenifer and Jeffrey Westphal, Indigenous Media Initiatives, Felix Culpa, Sarah Luther, and Susan Shilliday.

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