Vision Maker Media Announces Public Media Content Fund Awards

chartLINCOLN, NEBRASKA-Vision Maker Media is pleased to announce support for eight new projects for production/completion, new media, and research & development. The projects are comprised of twenty-two producers and/or Public Television stations which were selected for funding their documentaries by and about Native Americans.

With funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire Public Media community. Since 1990, filmmakers have been invited to submit proposals in various stages of their film—from research & development, to production, post-production/completion, and outreach. All proposals are reviewed by a group of Public Television professionals, station programmers, independent filmmakers, educators, and executives from Indigenous organizations.

“The goal of the Public Media Content Fund is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers,” said Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), executive director of Vision Maker Media.

The final slate of documentaries represents Native voices and stories from across the United States including Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and a couple of documentaries will span coast-to-coast.

In this funding cycle, of the selected projects, 43% are mid-level filmmakers, and 57% are veteran filmmakers. Of this, 48% of the filmmakers are women, 52% are male, and 57% are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. Every project approved for funding has at least one American Indian or Alaska Native in a producer or director role.

Funding was awarded as 25% new media, 25% research & development, and 50% production, post-production, and completion. Production provides funding for producers to film, record, and produce their documentaries. Post-production funding allows for completion of documentaries already in-progress. New Media provides for programs with primary distribution over the Internet such as vignettes and webisodes, as well as creation of community engagement materials.

In alphabetical order by funding type, the funded projects are:

Badger Creek

Randy Vasquez, Jonathan Skurnik, Darren Kipp (Blackfeet),

Cheryl Vanderburg (Salish/Cherokee), & Rhea Ashmore

Production/Completion | $62,000

Badger Creek is a year-in-the-life portrait of Native resilience as seen through three generations of a Blackfeet family in Montana. The Mombergs run a successful cattle ranch, live a traditional worldview, and are re-learning their language.

Moving Mountains: Land Art in the New West

Sam Douglas, Julianna Brannum (Comanche), Jeffrey Brown, & David Harstein

Production/Completion | $93,200

Moving Mountains: Land Art in the New West follows Native American art collective Post Commodity as they strive to complete a two-mile long land art project on the U.S.-Mexican border that is intended as a metaphor for suturing the people of the borderlands back together.


Katsitsionni Fox (Mohawk) & Katja Esson

Production/Completion | $60,200

Passages documents the resurgence of the adolescent passage rites in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne. The struggles of three Mohawk girls unfold as they navigate two worlds, the fast-paced modern world and the traditional path to womanhood.

Remember My Name

Jasper Rischen-Pierce, Saila Huusko, Billy Luther (Navajo/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo)

Production/Completion | $100,000

Following a heated primary election for the Presidency of the Navajo Nation, Remember My Name examines the world of LGBTQ rights and the meaning of identity in the largest Native American tribe in the United States.

Indigenous with Stacey Thunder

Stacey Thunder (Ojibwe, Red Lake & Lac Courte Oreilles)

New Media | $138,000

Indigenous with Stacey Thunder is a series that shares contemporary stories about Native peoples to educate and entertain viewers, empower Indigenous peoples, and bridge culture gaps. It seeks to shatter stereotypes, promote positivity, and show the world who we really are.

Resilience, the web series

Jonny Cournoyer (Rosebud Sioux) & David Cournoyer (Rosebud Sioux)

New Media | $35,000

Historical trauma in Native peoples has produced other traumas—abuse, neglect, and addiction. However, from tapping the healing power that is within them, there are powerful stories of healing strategies occurring now in tribal communities.

A History of Native American Public Radio

Sheila Nanaeto (Southern Ute), Lorena Cibrian (Southern Ute), Micahel Santistevan (Southern Ute), Deni Luna (Tlingit Nation), Sean Owen, Robert Franklin, & KSUT Public Radio

Research & Development | $15,000

With help from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Native American communities across the United States have created a network of more than 50 tribal Public stations that serve their communities each day with unique cultural programming. KSUT Public Radio would like to tell       their story.

Searching for Sequoyah

James Fortier (Ojibway of Pic River First Nation), & LeAnne Howe (Choctaw)

Research & Development | $19,900

From Taskigi to Mexico, Sequoyah, the famed inventor of the Cherokee syllabary sought to reunite the Cherokee Nation after removal. Searching for Sequoyah takes viewers on a journey retracing his final quest and the mystery surrounding his death.




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