Six Indigenous Filmmakers Set to Premiere Their Films at the Sundance Film Festival

In addition to these filmmakers and films making up the Native Forum at the Sundance Film Festival, the program will also be hosting 11 Native Fellows as a part of the year-round, ongoing support of individual artists. Participating in different tracks while at the Festival, the filmmakers are being supported on their individual projects and in their filmmaking careers. The filmmakers will participate in the following Sundance Institute Fellowships: the Native Filmmakers Lab Fellowship, the Time Warner Native Producers Initiative, and the Full Circle Initiative.

NATIVE FILMMAKERS LAB FELLOWS

These two Fellows participated in the Native Filmmakers Lab with their projects last July and will continue their year-long Fellowship at the Festival with screenings, guided film discussions, and networking events.

Razelle Benally (Diné/Oglala Lakota), I Am Thy Weapon

A young artistic Navajo woman relives memories of her deceased sister, that in turn help her heal and battle against the modern-day adversities of Reservation life.

Randi LeClair (Pawnee), The Other Side of the Bridge

After two high school football stars are found dead, decade’s long racial tensions sizzle in a small town diner.

TIME WARNER FELLOWS

These fellows will be supported on their projects while at the Festival and participate in screenings, networking events, and individually tailored meetings with industry leaders.

Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe), Producer Fellow, Wild Indian

A successful financial analyst and recently-released convicted felon are reunited twenty-five years after a hunting accident which has warped their lives beyond repair.

Holly Nordlum (Inupiaq), Producer Fellow, Tupik

An Inupiaq Artist and a Greenlandic tattooist confront religious authority and social conformity and together are reviving the lost tradition of Inuit tattooing.

FULL CIRCLE FELLOWS

These fellows will receive an immersive experience in the world of Independent film and attend screenings, participate in guided film discussions, and connect with leaders of the Indigenous film community.

Megan Babbitt (Diné) is from Flagstaff, Arizona, and currently a student at Northern Arizona University (NAU) as a Creative Film and Media Major with an emphasis in Media Production. She founded the Ninjacorn Films Workshop, an annual week-long summer workshop focusing on film production. She has participated in NAU’s Native American Broadcast workshop, NAU’s campus-based broadcast channel UTV62 and Paper Rocket Productions.

Taylor Bennett-Begaye (Diné) is a graphic designer from the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. She completed her Associate of Arts in Digital Arts and General Studies at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. She is finishing her final year at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where she will receive a BA in Graphic Design and a minor in Sociocultural Anthropology. She is a designer for the Survival of the First Voices Festival and works with Native youth.

Devin Weekley-Dean (Saginaw Chippewa) is from Mount Pleasant, Michigan. In high school, he developed a passion for film through a TV and radio course. With the encouragement of his teachers, he formed a video production team with a group of friends that has since gone on to win a state competition for video production by Business Professionals of America.

Shaandiin Tome (Diné) resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She recently graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico with a BFA in Film and Digital Media Production. Her work in filmmaking has included small roles in major motion pictures and to key positions with documentaries in Montana, Washington, Arizona, and South Dakota.

MERATA MITA FELLOWSHIP

At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute will announce its newly established annual Fellowship named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita, New Zealand’s first Indigenous female filmmaker. In addition to being a global advocate for Indigenous voices, Merata was a trusted Creative Advisor and Artistic Director at the Native Lab, and a dear friend to the Institute. We are launching this Fellowship with the support of several international partners who, to date, include the Embassy of Australia, New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, Indigenous Media Initiatives, and Pacific Islanders in Communications.

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