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I recently attended imagineNative where my film, Up Heartbreak Hill, had its Canadian premiere. The festival was amazing – it ran from Oct. 19 – 23 in Toronto and was a whirlwind of films, panels and networking opportunities. The festival kicked off with a screening of On the Ice and The Country of Wolves, which were both phenomenal. At the opening night party, I had the chance to chat with a number of Khoi-San filmmakers and artists, who were there as a part of the delegation representing South Africa’s indigenous community.

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This past Saturday was the world premiere of my documentary The Thick Dark Fog at the 36th annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. Walter Littlemoon, the subject of the film, and his wife Jane Ridgway were in attendance. Full house at the Embarcadero Center Cinema! A packed house watched the film and then had the opportunity to ask Walter and myself questions afterwards. Also joining us were producer Jonathan Skurnik, composer Kathryn Bostic and wardrobe person and actress Joyce Ferrer.

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Many thanks to the visionaries at Vision Maker Media and their partners for organizing the “Media for Change” workshop. It was a rare (and fun!) opportunity for filmmakers and educators to meet one another and talk extensively about their shared priorities. I wish we could do this more often! Here are some of my thoughts from the meeting. 

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I was fortunate enough to attend the 2011 Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe this past August nineteenth. After driving about eight hours from Mesa, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico I had plenty of time to think about what the conference would expose me to. Content creators, educators and enthusiasts all converged at this gathering and it was especially interesting to observe how their needs and areas of interest could at times have such vast diff

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When I got the invitation to go to Santa Fe from Vision Maker Media to attend the Media For Change Workshop, I thought, “Oh yeah, Santa Fe during Indian Market? Never done that. I’m in.” So along with my girlfriend, Joyce, we arrived that Thursday by plane. The trip was an especially big thrill for Joyce who had never been to New Mexico. I was excited for her as we took the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe because as a photographer I knew she’d have plenty to shoot.

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This past week, the Urban Indians crew finished up primary interviews in Denver and Durango. Soon, we will be off to a double roadtrip that takes us to Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Alburquerque & San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico. We have concentrated on those that live in the city but soon, we will focus our interviews and broll on returnees to discuss relocation, identity and culture.

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Urban Indians, formally called The Urbanization of American Indians, is in full production! We are exploring the complicated legacy of the US government's 1950s- 1970s assimilation policies that encouraged American Indians to leave their homelands and relocate to urban areas around the country.

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My name is Randy Vasquez and the new website for my documentary film about one man's experience in the Indian boarding school is up at www.thickdarkfog.com.

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After the Ponca’s were forced to move from their home by the Niobrara to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, Chief Standing Bear's son Bear Shield died of Malaria. Bear Shield’s dying wish was for his father to bury his body in the old Ponca burying ground by the Niobrara, 500 miles away. Standing Bear’s journey to keep his promise to Bear Shield brought him to places he could have never imagined.

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The American Experience segment - Wounded Knee is coming up soon, and I thought it might be a good time to listen to a documentary on WK that we did in 1993 - 20 years after the takeover.

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