Film Industry Veteran Joanelle Romero launches ‘Indigenous New Media’ to boost Native entertainment deals

Christian Bale, Scott Cooper, Rory Cochrane, Joanelle Romero, Lynette Two Bulls, Phillip Whiteman Jr. at the 2019 Red Nation Film Festival And Awards Ceremony at Laemmle’s Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. (courtesy photo)

LOS ANGELES — Film industry veteran Joanelle Romero already keeps busy with a number of projects, including operating the Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI). Now, she is embarking on a new venture: Indigenous New Media.

Romero’s online streaming company, Red Nation Television Network, which is the distribution arm to RNCI, created a new deal, according to a release. 

Indigenous New Media aims to introduce talent, creatives and executives to a variety of opportunities in entertainment. The release also states the new company seeks to “double the number of Indigenous creatives in a diverse array of entertainment fields.”

Financially, Indigenous New Media’s goal is to raise $1 million in seed funding by August 2021.

Romero said the goal of the new endeavor is to fully support emerging talents. Opportunities for Indigenous creatives include: “a finance development deal of a feature script, a scripted proof-of-concept deal with a major studio, a documentary development deal and a blind digital pilot deal.”

Romero has a history of launching such projects. Aside from Red Nation Television, her work with RNCI’s annual Red Nation International Film Festival, which returns in November 2020, is a longtime champion of Native actors, directors and producers.

To keep tabs on her latest cinematic mission, Indigenous New Media plans to track its progress via a “Database of Indigenous Working Talent in Hollywood,” created in collaboration with Native Women in FILM Media Coalition.  After its first year, Indigenous New Media will produce a report of the current state of Indigenous representation in the industry. From there, the organization plans to present its initial successes.

RNCI is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and, in November, will cut the ribbon on a Native Studies Center at the University of Southern California School of Public Policy. The room will be named after the RNCI. The two entities partnered back in 2017, and also have an annual podcast deal.

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