Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Native Filmmakers bring expertise to Oklahoma Summit


Bird Runningwater is completing a circle in more than one sense of the word, when he brings his work as Director of the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program back to Oklahoma.

Runningwater, who earned the first Native American Studies degree granted by the University of Oklahoma, has traveled from Oklahoma to Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands to provide support for Native American and Indigenous Filmmakers.

"In our work we scout for emerging Native filmmakers to help get their films made and seen," said Runningwater. "We offer Fellowships, grants and the platform of Sundance Film Festival to achieve these goals."

Runningwater has worked with several accomplished Oklahoma filmmakers over the years and the Native Filmmaker Summit Sept. 6 at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Okla. offers the opportunity to once again work with Native filmmakers in the state.

"I am beyond excited to be bringing my work home to Oklahoma, to share films and engage in discussions around Independent film," said Runningwater. "I’m especially excited for us to host our Native Filmmaker Summit where we can engage with the Native filmmaking community of Oklahoma and meet new artists and hopefully find new films and filmmakers we can engage through Sundance Labs, Programs and Festival."

Some of the biggest names in the Oklahoma film industry will be represented at the summit.

Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek), director of "Four Sheets to the Wind" and "Barking Water" is a featured presenter at the summit. In 2011, Harjo received the Tilghman Award for achievement in cinema from the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle.

Harjo, a native of Holdenville, Okla. who now works in Tulsa, studied screenwriting in the University of Oklahoma's Film and Video Studies Program and under the Sundance Institute's Feature Film Program

Chad Burris (Chickasaw), founder of Indion Group of Entertainment Companies, is another featured presenter. Burris was awarded the Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers from Sundance Institute in 2007. He was executive producer of the Michael Winterbottom feature "The Killer Inside Me," starring Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck. That film, much of which was filmed in Oklahoma, premiered at Sundance 2010.

His latest film, Mosquita y Mari premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

Runningwater and Harjo will also be involved in Film Forward, which will include free public screenings of seven films Sept. 7-8 at the cultural center.

"Film Forward aims to connect with audiences who may not have exposure to Independent Film, and we select eight sites around the world to screen films and to spur cross-cultural dialogue," said Runningwater. "The Chickasaw Nation is the second Tribal Nation we’ve partnered with through Film Forward, last year we collaborated with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan to bring Independent Films to their community."

The films are "Bran Nue Dae," by Rachel Perkins; "Senna," by Asif Kapadia; "On the Ice," by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean; "Buck," by Cindy Meehl; "Beginners," by Michael Mills; "Somewhere Between," by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and "Another Earth," by Mike Cahill.

Asif Kapadia, director of "Senna," will participate in question and answer sessions each day after their films are screened.

Film Forward will also feature two panel discussions. Bird Runningwater will serve as moderator of "Perspectives on Indigenous Filmmaking" with Harjo and Jason Asenap as panelists Sept. 7. Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film Commission, will serve as moderator of "Perspectives on Oklahoma Filmmaking" Sept. 8.

About the Chickasaw Cultural Center

Located on 109 acres of rolling hills, woodlands and streams adjacent to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, Okla., the Chickasaw Cultural Center utilizes the latest technology, live demonstrations, ancient artifacts and natural outdoor spaces to tell the story of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation. The cultural center campus features an amphitheatre, sky terrace and traditional village along with more than 96,000 square feet of indoor space, including an Exhibit Center, Holisso Research Center, and large-format theatre.

FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue

FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue is an international cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of film and conversation with filmmakers. FILM FORWARD is an Initiative of Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Federal Partners

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) bridges the interests of American federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation and excellence in the arts and humanities, and helps incorporate these disciplines into White House objectives. First Lady Michelle Obama is the Honorary Chairman of the PCAH.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency, provides support for documentary films, digital media and other educational programs in the humanities through competitive grant programs. The NEH is the nation’s leading supporter of research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The IMLS works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

Sundance Institute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


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