Women and Girls Lead

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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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In 2004, thirteen Indigenous grandmothers from all four corners, moved by their concern for our planet, came together at a historic gathering in Phoenicia, New York. At this event, they decided to form an alliance called "The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers" in response to a prophecy made by their ancestors thousands of years ago.

Injunuity, the new documentary by Adrian Baker (Hopi), captures Native American stories and perspectives in a unique way--animation and real audio.

“We’re using a mix of animation, music and real audio to explore American life from a contemporary Native American perspective,” said Baker, the executive producer of Injunuity.

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Finally in Post-Production, I can see an end to five years of making my first feature documentary, My Louisiana Love. Now… how will the film help bring forth change for my best friend, co-producer, and main subject, Monique Verdin and her Houma Indian family of southeast Louisiana? With this question hanging over me, I gratefully accepted Vision Maker Media’s invitation to a Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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$15,0000.  That was the magic number I had come up with. My documentary, “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101” had come to a complete halt when my funds dried up and I needed to get it finished.  I estimated that I need $50k to deliver the final cut to submit to public television, but it seemed impossible to try to raise that amount in 30 days, so I decided to go for a more reasonable $15k. I saw the success my other filmmaker friends had with their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter.com and thought I’d go for it. Here’s how it all went down…

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Lincoln, Neb.: Vision Maker Media awards up to $500,000 combined annually to a select handful of production and research & development projects by filmmakers across the nation to produce documentaries for PBS stations.

Cherokee filmmaker Heather Rae’s new feature documentary, First Circle, shares the stories of families in Idaho struggling with drug abuse, the foster care system and the intrinsic human need for family.

In Shelley Niro’s debut feature film, Kissed by Lightning, a Mohawk woman works through the grief surrounding the death of her husband by painting the stories he used to tell.

Standing Bear’s Footsteps, the new historical documentary by Christine Lesiak and Princella Parker (Omaha), tells the story of one of America’s original civil rights activists, Ponca Chief Standing Bear.

“The film is about what it means to be a person as told through the life of a Ponca Indian Chief, and his struggle to be free,” said Christine Lesiak, executive producer, writer and director of Standing Bear’s Footsteps.

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As a woman who found great strength from her participation in the Girl Scouts, I wanted to share this initiative with others who want to see more woman grow up and fill leadership roles in media and society as a whole.

“The history of Apache 8 is unknown to the world at large, even to the world near Whiteriver [Ariz.] where the firefighters are based,” said Zeig.

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Sitting in the cafe of The Magnolia hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado, this morning, a slice of gratitude shined on me. I was chewing on my strawberry cream cheese bagel—completely off my diet—reading a poem. It dawned on me that I am where I was intended to be and I could trace my footsteps back to a pink flyer I saw on the San Juan College campus in Farmington, New Mexico.

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

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Hands-on educational tools for middle school to college-aged students that increase the Impact of Native films in the classroom.