Kelly Byars


Kelly Byars

Kelly Byars is a filmmaker, sculptor, actor and teacher. He holds an Associates Degree in Three Dimensional Sculpture from the Institute of American Indian Arts, a Bachelors Degree in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico and a Masters Degree in Language, Literacy, and Socio-cultural studies with an emphasis in Native American Education from the University of New Mexico. 

He has produced several films through his company Reel Indian Pictures including The Last Trek and A Return Home, both of which were funded through the New Mexico Filmmakers Program and the State of New Mexico. Kelly continues to work in film and theatre as an actor.  His portrayal of Delbert Tsosie in A Thief of Time earned him the Outstanding New Performance Award by the First Americans in the Arts in 2005.  He continues to also produce stone sculpture. His sculptures can be viewed at Kelly was also an intern at the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on documentary projects with Native students. He has also held filmmaking workshops in other rural tribal communities as well as the University of New Mexico.

Kelly played two characters in a play written by Alan Kilpatrick entitled, Little Bighorn as a part of the Two Worlds Theater Festival at the VSA Art Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September through October of 2009. He most recently portrayed four characters in the play, “The Ballad of Sucios Frog” at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Most recently Kelly produced OPAL, a short film written by his wife Ramona Emerson, which was work shopped at the 2010 Sundance Native Filmmakers Lab. Kelly is also producing the documentary The Mayor of Shiprock – being funded through the Public Media Fund and Vision Maker Media.

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This past September 5th through the 8th 2012, Vision Maker Media had their workshop in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. We were lucky to have great weather so walking through town to get to our destinations was enjoyable. Our dinner at the Oceanaire Seafood Room, where they served the best seafood I have ever eaten, was a great way to start our week with great food, company and conversation. The town is filled with great food venues and the views of the city were tremendous.

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Native stories that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives for your station!


Current funding, job, and training opportunities that support the production of Native content. Plus, additional information for filmmakers.


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