Producer Profile

A narrative feature filmmaker and third generation Italian American, Gina Abatemarco has a passion for compelling storytelling and advancing women in the film industry.

Growing up on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, Tina Garnanez was told not to play in or near the open mines near her home. Nobody told her why, or that they led to the death of her grandfather. 

Years later she found out they were uranium mines.

During the late 1940s, America began stockpiling nuclear weapons for the Cold War. To acquire the raw nuclear materials for these weapons, uranium mines opened up across the Four Corners region of the American southwest.

Since America's inception, dynastic families have significantly influenced American history.  Names like Kennedy, Hearst, and Rockefeller are forever tied to American politics, media and business; their legacies well documented, their names widely known. But filmmaker Eli Cane believes there is room for one more dynastic American family, a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne family: The Dull Knifes.

When Leanndra was born, Dorey and Yolanda Nez took their newborn daughter for a picnic  in the mountains near the family's home on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. On the outing, Leanndra received such a bad sunburn that her face swelled up, and her eyes temporarily sealed off. Leanndra was born with XP.

The bison is an icon of the Great Plains with a history that predates the arrival of humans in North America. Since their arrival, the 10,000-plus year relationship between humans and bison has been tumultuous and grown increasingly complex in modern times following the animal's near extinction coinciding with America's western expansion.

Brothers Jeremy and Jerome Thompson grew up in two worlds--two cultures. As members of the Onondaga Tribe, the brothers grew up in the sovereign Onondaga Nation, located a few miles south of Syracuse, N.Y. In Lukas Korver’s latest documentary, The Medicine Game, Korver captures the unique bicultural lives of the Thompson brothers as they prepare to transition from high school to college, all while making a name for themselves as two of the best lacrosse players in America.  

“Lacrosse is their dream,” Korver said. “It’s their life.”

At 18-years-old, Monique Verdin (Houma) never intended to make a film for PBS. She wanted to return to her family’s ancestral home in southeastern Louisiana to document and preserve the traditional Houma ways of her grandmother. Upon arrival, events unfurled that would forever change the lives of Verdin, her family and their beloved home. My Louisiana Love is Verdin’s story of love, loss and life in the wetlands of southeastern Louisiana.

When you think of Native American music, do marching bands, trumpets, clarinets and flutes come to mind? If not, Cathleen O’Connell has a story for you.

In her latest documentary, Sousa on the Rez: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum, O’Connell uncovers a musical tradition that has largely been forgotten in America--the Native American marching band.

In his new documentary, filmmaker Brian Truglio fused his passion for running with his strong connection to the people and culture of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The result is Racing the Rez, a documentary that tells the story of contemporary life on the Navajo Nation through the eyes and legs of boys running high school cross-country for the fiercely competitive state championship rival teams of Tuba City and Chinle.

For the first time in its 300-year-old history, the Laguna Pueblo villages are sharing with the outside world their annual summer celebration, Grab Day. A feast day celebration in honor of their patron saints, Grab Day culminates in the Throw—when families flock to the flat, traditional pueblo style roofs of their homes to shower high spirited crowds of community members below with bread, water, toys, food and other gifts.

As a child, Walter Littlemoon, Lakota, was forcefully taken from his mother by the U.S. government and placed into a federally operated Native American boarding school on the Pine Ridge Reservation. There, Littlemoon and his peers received a cultural purging to erase their Native identity. Humiliation, beatings and abuse were a part of this process. Littlemoon’s traumatic experience at the boarding school became deeply rooted into his being, causing him great mental and emotional pain well into his adult years.

For Italian Americans and Native Americans living in and around Denver, Colorado, Christopher Columbus and the holiday honoring him are subjects of heated debate. In the new documentary, Columbus Day Legacy, Navajo filmmaker Bennie Klain presents viewers with both sides of the conflict.


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