Published December 12, 2019
Sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Cartoon Network Studios, Sugarshack Animation, Women in Animation, Crunchyroll, Fullscreen and Rooster Teeth
LOS ANGELES — The LA Skins Fest, a Native American film festival announced today they have selected 8 participants for the 2019 NATIVE AMERICAN ANIMATION LAB, a talent development program that aims to boost the careers of Native American in the field of animation.
“We have a talented community in need of exposure, access, and opportunity. This new endeavor will get more Native American voices in front of the right people who can develop their animation projects and build their animation careers.” stated Ian Skorodin (Choctaw), LA SKINS FEST Founder.
The participants will take part in a five day curriculum that will have them meeting with executives from Universal Pictures, Cartoon Network Studios, Kung Fu Monkey Productions and many others. The lab will consist of daily workshops, seminars and one-on-one mentoring to help each participant develop a project for the pitch panel at the end of the lab.
The five day total immersion lab will be mentored and guided by Writer/Producer Donick Cary (Simpsons/Parks and Recreation/Ap Bio). At the end of the program, each participant will pitch a panel of executives from our corporate supporters.
The NATIVE AMERICAN ANIMATION LAB was created to expand the amount of Native Americans working behind the camera, as a way to increase fair and accurate portrayals of Native Americans on television.
The 2019 NATIVE AMERICAN ANIMATION LAB is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Cartoon Network Studios, Sugarshack Animation, Women in Animation, and Otter Media brands, Crunchyroll, Fullscreen and Rooster Teeth.
The eight participants:
Ben-Alex Dupris is Mnicoujou Lakota, and also an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes where he grew up. Dupris creates work that pushes the boundaries of modernity and traditionalism in hopes of changing perspectives of Indigenous concepts without censorship. His directorial debut “Sweetheart Dancers” won Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at Outfest 2019. He recently directed an American Masters “Masters in the Making” for PBS and Firelight Media about the artist Bunky Echo-Hawk that premiered at DOC NYC 2019. He is developing an animation series based on tribal legend stories that reflect the changing nature of Indigenous relationships to the earth in the 21st century.
Pasquale Encell and Steve Encell
Pasquale (Modoc) and his partner, Steve (Modoc), who is also his father, started a small animation team in Thailand. Steve served in the US Army and studied Agricultural Business at Cal Poly, and realized that the Native elders he knew were disappearing and soon they would be gone forever. Because of this, he decided to study with several medicine men and leaders before their knowledge disappeared. With his partner and son, Pasquale, they created Thunder Eagle Productions and chose animation as their main conduit of production. They have made several animated movies that have played in film festivals all over the world. They have won awards including Best Animated Film in the New Hope International Film Festival for their animated feature film Eagle Feather.
Jeanette Harrison is a director, writer, actor, and producer, who has spent most of her career in theater. For television, she co-wrote with Sharmila Devar a half-hour comedy about family and cultural identity, FEATHERS AND DOTS, DOTS AND FEATHERS. She created and was Head Writer for the webseries The Breakdown (3 seasons); and was a staff writer for the webseries Coach Dan. For SPASigma, she was Head Writer and 2nd Unit Director for their most recent documentary, and a staff writer on Personality Quotient (2018). In 2004 she co-founded the award-winning AlterTheater in the San Francisco Bay Area. At AlterTheater, she architected the ground-breaking AlterLab playwright residency program. She has shepherded more than 20 new plays to world premiere productions. A Native New Yorker, she is of Onondaga descent.
Chag Lowry is of Yurok, Maidu, and Achumawi ancestry from northern California. He is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His most recent publication is the graphic novel titled Soldiers Unknown with art by Rahsan Ekedal. This book was published by Great Oak Press and focuses on the Yurok Native American military experience in World War One. Mr. Lowry has a M.A. in Education and is currently writing a comic anthology titled Reflection.
Vladimir Perez (Taino) is a comedian from Brooklyn NY. As an actor he can be seen in network sitcoms that include Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Unicorn and the upcoming Disney+ show Diary of a Female President. As a writer, Vlad was honored to be a part of the LA SKINS FEST Native American TV writers Lab. Vlad is also a proud recipient of the Groundlings NBC/Universal Diversity scholarship 2018. Vlad’s sketch “Resting Gangster Face” was selected to be filmed for the 2017 IFC Showcase during the San Francisco Sketchfest. At UCB, Vlad hosted the LA Weekly Top Pick show The Hip Hop Source Awardz and performed improv on UCB Mess Hall team Fresh Kicks. He is a proud alumni of the CBS Diversity Showcase as a writer in 2016 and an actor in 2017. Vlad is currently working on an animation series based on a Taino super hero.
Sierra Revis (Yuchi) is a Graphic Designer currently working for the Native-owned marketing agency, Buffalo Nickel Creative based in Pawhuska, OK. Her design work on the Native Now and Indigenous People’s Day campaigns was praised by audiences throughout Indian Country. Sierra has also put her video editing and animation skills to work on various documentary-style shorts for a state-wide campaign on commercial tobacco-use cessation and prevention among Native American tribes. A graduate of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology with a degree in Visual Communications, Sierra recently developed an animated language video and created the story board, illustrated the visuals and animated the components.
Jason Turner (Potawatomi and Kickapoo) is an accomplished filmmaker, producer, editor, and director. A music video he shot and directed won the Art at Work award in 2013 from the Arts Council of Kansas City (ArtsKC). Many of his films have screened at film festivals. His motion comic, The Iron Detective: Sentinel, won the Achievement in Animation award at the 2017 LA Skins Fest and streamed nationally on Xfinity Streampix. Those same shorts have screened at Planet Comicon in Kansas City. Jason has also served on Planet Comicon panels. For four years he ran the Kansas City 48 Hour Film Project (KC’s branch of the 48 Hour Film Project). He is also a published comic book author. His comic book “Sentinel” can be found on Amazon and has been made into an animation short, The Iron Detective: Sentinel.