Sousa on the Rez - Cathleen O'Connell

Sousa on the Rez - Cathleen O'Connell

Date Posted: 
2018-07-11 09:58

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written, and produced by Natives in today’s media?

A. Looking from the outside in doesn't tell the whole story. Films created, written and produced by Native filmmakers tell the story from the inside out. These days, there is a lot of talk about the "bubbles" we live in. Films written, created and produced by Native people push back against the "bubble" by offering viewers stories from another point of view. This can disrupt expectations, bust stereotypes, educate, inform and enlighten. Media can be used to separate and divide, or it can be a powerful tool to expand the horizons of possibility. It is only by continuing to create media from and about people from all walks of life that we can expand beyond the "bubble" to appreciate a wider array of perspectives and experiences.

Q. Why do you think people should tune in for 40 Years: 40 Films?

A. 40 Years:40 Films offers a curated and accessible starting place to explore the vast ocean of stories and films produced by this amazing organization over four decades - stories that might never have been told without Vision Maker Media's support and help

Q. Why should other producers and filmmakers work with Vision Maker Media?

A. Vision Maker Media is a singular resource in the United States, dedicated to supporting Native storytellers. Vision Maker's years of experience, wealth of contacts, exemplar reputation, and established distribution network opens doors for storytellers - giving films and filmmakers a supportive home.

Q. What aspect of working with Vision Maker Media was the most worthwhile or rewarding for you?

A. I'm based in Massachusetts and worked long distance with the Vision Maker staff in Nebraska and always felt 200% supported by the organization. Throughout production, I knew they had my back, that the team was available to troubleshoot and help along the way and that they cared as deeply about the project as I did. And without the moral and financial support of Vision Maker, "Sousa On The Rez" would never have been made.

Q. How does Vision Maker Media provide support to you as a filmmaker?

A. Now that production is over, the organization continues to support the film by promoting it on the Vision Maker website, by making it available to a wider audience through initiatives like "40 Years" 40 Films" and by distributing the documentary to educational institutions and individuals through their distribution networks.

Q. What one experience would you want audiences to take away after viewing your film?

A. That today, Native American marching bands are alive and well in Indian Country, both as an internal form of creative expression, as well as a way to connect to non-Native people. What may seem at first glance an incongruous mash-up - western marches and indigenous peoples - when given context and history, challenges viewers to expand their definition of Native American music and broadens their understanding of contemporary Indian life.

Q. How do Vision Maker Media films help serve Indian Country?

A. By acting as a leading resource and platform to support and fund Native filmmakers who are bringing the stories of Indian Country to national and international audiences.

Q. What advice would you give to filmmakers beginning their careers?

A. Know that your voice, your vision, your perspective is unique - so tell YOUR story! It won't be easy. It will be hard work. But it will be worth it!

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