Filmmaker Views

Filmmaker Views

'The Twelve Days of Native Christmas' Producer  Helps Express True Native Voices

Gary Robinson's (Choctaw/Cherokee) holiday film The Twelve Days of Native Christmas, is one of the films Vision Maker Media featured on "40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks." Gary is a seasoned writer and filmmaker with experience in many aspects of documentary television production, script writing, as well as fiction and non-fiction publication. Much of his work has been about or on behalf of American Indian tribes, organizations and businesses, creating video programs and educational materials on the history, culture and contemporary issues of indigenous peoples. One of Gary's books, Little Brother of War, is intended for Native American teen readers. This series features Native American teen characters and situations.

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written, and produced by Natives in today's media?
A. It's the only way to insure that the true voices of Native Peoples are being expressed. There's not one single Native point of view, and no single Native media maker can speak for all Natives, so there needs to be multiple opportunities in multiple forms of media for Natives to share stories past, present and future.

Q. Why do you think people should tune in for 40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks?
A. The span of 40 years of Native filmmaking reveals the evolution of the medium from the days of the earliest Native filmmakers to the newest and latest crop of young media makers who are using the newest digital platforms and styles to express Native viewpoints and stories.

Q. Why should other producers and filmmakers work with Vision Maker Media?
A. We Native filmmakers must use all available channels of communication to get the word out about who we are, where we've been and where we're going. Vision Maker Media can provide opportunities for Native and non-Native producers to collaborate on projects that feature Native content.

Q. What aspect of working with Vision Maker Media was the most worthwhile or rewarding for you?
A. Working first with NAPT under Frank Blythe and now VMM under Shirley has continually provided an important means of staying in touch with other Natives working in the field of TV, film, video and new media production and distribution. This networking can be empowering to media makers who often work alone in remote areas. The interaction helps you know that you're not alone out there. Mentoring is also an important aspect of this networking.

Q. What one experience would you want audiences to take away after viewing your film?
A. That Native-made films are not all serious documentaries that reveal tragic stories of Native struggles!

Q. What advice would you give to filmmakers beginning their careers?
A. First learn the elements of good storytelling.
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