Vision Maker Media Announces the Open Call Results for FY2011 Funded Films: Seven Films Awarded Funding


As Director of Communications for Vision Maker Media, Susan serves as the liaison between producers, vendors, and the organization.

Vision Maker Media Announces the Open Call Results for FY2011 Funded Films: Seven Films Awarded Funding

Date Posted: 
2011-04-04 11:50

Blog Series:

Vision Maker Media awarded more than $460,000 to seven projects by filmmakers across the nation to produce documentaries for PBS stations.

“The goal of the open call is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers,” says Vision Maker Media Executive Director Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux). “We encourage Native Americans to take on significant creative leadership roles, such as director, producer and editor. We want Native voices to have creative control, and not just in an advisory capacity.”

Funding for the projects comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The seven films explore Native American perspectives of history and the social, economic and political conditions that depicted it; the preservation of today’s environmental resources; as well as present-day contemporary stories about the competitive sport of horse-racing and how one man’s legacy is coming to light as his life-long career dedication to preserve Native languages is now helping others unlock dozens of all-but-forgotten California Indian languages.

“Vision Maker Mediais encouraged to see more independent producers teaming up with local public TV stations to produce their films,” says Sneve. “We like to promote that, because it creates partnerships and often leads to more projects. Then stations always have go-to Native filmmakers to work with.”

Vision Maker Media invites proposals for projects intended for public broadcasting that helps us reach our mission to share Native stories with the world. The deadline for the Vision Maker Media Public Television Program Fund FY2012 closed on March 16, 2011. Stay tuned for more information about the FY2013 call for submissions at

The 2010, Fiscal Year 2011, awarded projects are as follows:

Indian Relay

Producers: Charles Dye, Wayne Smith (Blackfeet/Crow) & KUSM-TV/Montana PBS

Status: Production

An inspiring year-long portrait of three Native American horse-racing families, culminating at the 2011 Indian Relay National Championships in Blackfoot, Idaho. Footage from each of the season’s big relay races is intercut with stories and views from the long off-season.

Something’s Moving: Legacies of the American Indian Boarding Schools

Producers: Randy Vasqez, Jonathon Skurnik & Brian Wescott (Athabascan/Yup’ik)

>Status: Production

Walter Littlemoon was forced to attend a Federal Government Boarding School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in the 1950s, where his culture, language and spirituality were brutally suppressed. Something's Moving profiles Walter's journey to heal himself and his community and to reclaim his heritage.

Chasing Voices: John Peabody Harrington and the Language Revitalization Movement

Producer: Daniel Golding (Quechan)

>Status: Research & Development

>When linguistic and anthropologist John Peabody Harrington died in 1961 at the age of 77, few understood the significance of his work. Harrington was an eccentric, paranoid and obsessively driven anthropologist whose life’s work became dedicated to preserving Native America’s dying languages. Today, Harrington’s legacy is now regarded as the “Rosetta Stone” that unlocks dozens of all-but-forgotten California Indian languages.

Indians: An Unexpected Story

Producers: Roberta Grossman, Brian Wescott (Athabascan/Yup’ik), Deann Borshay Liem and Lisa Thomas

Status: Production

This four-hour series tells the vivid tale of Native Americans in the 20th Century and beyond. Comprised of interviews, family histories, archival footage and music, the series provides a greater appreciation of the histories and achievements of contemporary Native American individuals and Indigenous communities.

Crying Earth Rise Up

Producers: Suree Towfighnia, Beth Sternheimer and Debra White Plume (Oglala Lakota)

Status: Production

>A documentary about protecting one of the earth’s most precious elements—water. Through characters who oppose and support the expansion of uranium mining over the High Plains/Ogallala—the largest fresh water underground source in North America—and the Arikara aquifiers in western South Dakota and Nebraska, audiences learn about the important and timely issue of preserving and protecting the land and water before it becomes too late.

Urban Indians

Producer: Rocky Mountain PBS

Status: Research & Development

Urban Indians explores explores the historic legacy of the 1950s Termination and Relocation policies that brought American Indians from Reservations to urban areas and how these mass migrations forged a new Indian identity of today.

Without a Tribe

Producer: Cynthia Jeannette Gomez (NM Genizaro)

Status: Research & Development

This documentary film unlocks the clandestine social, economic and political conditions of the late 1600s when Native youth and women were stolen from homelands and imprisoned, then ransomed into domestic servitude, hard labor and military training only to be labeled with lowest class identity as Genizaro Indians. Today’s Genizaro descendants continue to struggle to maintain their communal homelands and recognize this Genizaro heritage.

Vision Maker Media, a non-profit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, shares Native stories with the world through support of the creation, promotion and distribution of Native media. Founded in 1977, through various media—public television, public radio and the Internet—Vision Maker Mediabrings awareness of Indian and Alaska Native issues.Vision Maker Mediais the premier source for quality Native American educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media—to be the next generation of storytellers.>Vision Maker Mediais located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.Vision Maker Mediaoffers student employment, internships and fellowships. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native-produced media.



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