Beverly Morris has dedicated much of her 18 years of broadcasting to developing young media makers as the project director of the Institute of American Indian Arts’ summer television and film workshop in Santa Fe, NM.
During the project’s first three years it has extended opportunities to many young broadcasters they otherwise would never have had.
The workshop provides students with hands on experience in writing, producing, and directing. The learning environment can be used as a stepping stone for young media-makers to produce their own work. It also provides students with the opportunity to begin to create networks in the field.
Over three years, 65 students have been through the six weeks of training. Many of these students immediately further their careers through the workshop.
According to Morris, “Nine students received either scholarship grants or fellowships with the ABC’s talent development program.” One of her students wrote, produced, directed, edited, and did the score for an entire dramatic film. He entered the program with no background in broadcasting.
Morris says summer’s workshop will be better as several improvements are already in the works.
The workshop collaborates with ABC-Disney and will feature a more in depth writer’s workshop.
Morris entered the media field in 1986 when she moved to New Mexico. She enrolled in a few classes at the Institute of American Indian Arts and met George Burdeau, who was giving a presentation on film-making. A few months later Burdeau hired her to produce a few radio spots. Today Morris spends much of her time producing and directing projects about Native Americans. She co-produced “Looking Toward Home,” an educational film about urban Indians who were forced to leave their reservations in the late 1950s by the government’s relocation act. The film was released in late 2004 to rave reviews.
Morris said it is her work helping others that is most rewarding. She built the summer workshop from a small gathering of students with one camera, to a heavily sponsored workshop with strong funding from the state of New Mexico. All of this time and effort has been for the sake of teaching others. The best feeling for Beverly is “to see new film-makers come in and leave with a sense of accomplishment,” a selfless comment from a woman who has helped so many throughout her career.
Written by Zach Oliva.
Interviews conducted and edited by Zach Oliva.