For centuries survival was difficult for Alaska Native peoples, but they lived full lives. Today survival is easier, but they are dying young. Alaska Native peoples sustained their way of life through a social, cultural and spiritual balance, but the traumatic ramifications of colonization have left many scars that continue to be passed down from generation to generation. 

Kavelina Torres is an Alaska Native hailing from the Yup'ik, Inupiaq and Athabascan Nations. She lives in North Pole, Alaska, where life is rich and full of diversity. She is a student at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where she is studying Yup'ik Filmmaking. She writes theater plays and screenplays with contemporary Alaskan and Alaska Native themes.

Four Inuit athletes travel throughout Alaska competing in the ancestral games of strength. Acrobatic and explosive, these sports are vital for survival in the frigid, hostile Arctic. As waves of change sweep across their traditional lands, their role is stronger than ever.

For thousands of years, traditional Inuit sports have been vital for survival within the unforgiving Arctic. Acrobatic and explosive, these ancestral games evolved to strengthen mind, body and spirit within the community. Following four modern Inuit athletes reveals their unique relationship to the games as they compete across the North. As unprecedented change sweeps across their traditional lands, their stories illuminate the importance of the games today.

Like Native Americans in the lower 48, Alaska Natives struggled to keep their basic human rights, as well as protect their ancient ties to the land. The Bill of Rights did not apply to them. Through extensive reenactments, the film reveals the remarkable people and their struggle for civil rights.

The North Arctic landscape is changing rapidly--so too are the lives of Inupiat Natives living on the tiny, vanishing island of Kivalina, Alaska. Many believe global warming is to blame, but filmmakers show how one humble village fights to save their homeland under a cloud of doubt.

The tiny town of KIVALINA lies on a fragile barrier island along the Chukchi Sea, 83 miles above the Arctic circle.

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

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Eleven production contracts from Vision Maker Media have been approved for the delivery of documentary and new media projects to the Public Broadcasting System. “The purpose of this funding 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.”

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If ever there were a boot camp for emerging filmmakers, the folks at NALIP have laid the groundwork for how things might go: early mornings, late nights, constant networking, and in between, squeezing in sessions of proposal writing, film editing, music composition, crowd-funding and practicing the perfect pitch. After 10-days of non-stop work-shopping at the Latino Producer’s Academy, I felt as though I had pulled the ultimate all-nighter, extremely fatigued, but reflecting on the experience with much satisfaction.

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