International Institute for
Indigenous Resource Management

FILMMAKERS, CULTURAL LEADERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS

 

For indigenous peoples today, storytelling is still one of the primary means by which lessons are taught. For thousands of years information about ocean navigation, fisheries and game management, agriculture, and myriad other topics has been passed on through stories and songs. Stories ordered familial, tribal, intercultural and even inter-species relationships. Misbehave and an uncle or auntie had the perfect story to illustrate the inevitable consequence of your folly. Return from the hunt empty-handed and an elder of the tribe would very probably hold forth with a story that included an appropriate blend of good-natured chiding with a didactic exposition on hunting technique. The protagonist might have been Maui or Coyote but regardless, if the lesson was to be learned, the story had to be memorable and entertaining.

Today, filmmakers, artists, and writers are some of our most important storytellers. Their works let us “talk story.” The works of each of these filmmakers have been official selections of the Indigenous Film & Arts Festival. Their works were selected because we thought they created memorable and entertaining stories. Their films convey to our audiences their unique perspective of the universe and all the creatures, places, and things within.

We've shown the works of the artists and have been inspired by the cultural leaders and writers who have participated in the Indigenous Film & Arts Festival. We think the enthusiastic response of our audiences to their stories confirms our judgment. We thank the filmmakers, cultural leaders, artists, and writers for sharing their stories and their creations, and thus, their wisdom, with us.

 

Steven Alvarez
Alaska Native Heritage Center
8800 Heritage Center Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99506
U.S.A.
salvarez@alaskanative.net
Phone: +1 907-330-8091
2004, Qayaqs & Canoes: Native Ways of Knowing; 2005, Asveq (The Walrus Hunt); 2006, Living from the Land and Sea.

Steven Alvarez (Mescalero Apache/Yaqui/Upper Tanana Athabascan) comes to Anchorage form the San Francisco Bay Area where he was active as both a performer and educator. Growing up in a military family provided Steven the opportunity to grow up in many diverse cultures including Hawaiian, Japanese, and all three coasts of the continental U.S. He graduated from San Jose State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music (Voice and Percussion) and History and a minor in Philosophy.

An artist with hands in many mediums, he works professionally as a percussionist, vocalist, stage actor, film and stage producer and music educator. His work as a film producer includes: Asveq, The Walrus Hunt; Living From the Land and Sea; In This World, a Native American Music Award (NAMA) winning video for the Native band Medicine Dream, and he has also served as Project Director for Drums of the North, a traditional Yup'ik music CD. He is currently producing four film projects and presents an innovative storytelling performance piece that couples traditional storytelling with singing and film.

Steven R. Heape
Rich-Heape Films, Inc.
5952 Royal Lane, Suite 254-4
Dallas, Texas 75230
U.S.A.
E-mail: richheape@aol.com
Phone: +1 214-696-6916
2005, Black Indians: An American Story; 2006, The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy.

Executive producer, Steven R. Heape, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is a creator and innovator of film and video productions. He produced his first film in 1980. Location to Recovery became a standard in the oil industry for quality storytelling. His vision to bring Native American subjects to a public audience has seen the production of several award-winning projects. He was commended by the 108th U.S. Congress for extraordinary efforts to document and preserve Native American culture and the part Native Americans have played in American History.

Allan "RJ" Joseph
Moccasin Path Productions
U.S.A.
mightycree@aol.com
Phone: +1 928-300-1052
2005, Peyote Man.

RJ Joseph, a Cree film maker, grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is owner of Moccasin Path Productions. Prior to directing My Ancestor's Voice, RJ worked for many years as a Native American actor and stuntman, having been featured in films such as ThunderHeart, IronWill, Desperado, and others.

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Natasha Keating
He Taonga Films
72 Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn
Auckland
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
hetaonga@woosh.co.nz
Phone: +64 (9) 376-0332

Natasha Keating is a New Zealand Maori of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngai Tuhoe and Te Ati Hau Nui a Paparangi descent. Her background is as a visual artist. She has exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions. She has passion for all things creative and has put her hand to curating, production co-ordinator of a Maori theatre company, ‘Koanga Maori Theatre', acting in film and theatre, writing, production work, and raising 2 children. Natasha currently works for ‘He Taonga Films' in Auckland, NZ, where she is pursuing a career in filmmaking.

Mike Livingston
200 West 34th Avenue #153
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
U.S.A.
E-mail: miliving2004@yahoo.com
Phone: +1 907-929-7888
2004, Qayaqs & Canoes: Native Ways of Knowing.

Michael Livingston, of Aleut heritage, grew up in the tiny village of Cold Bay (pop. 70) on the Alaska Peninsula and learned Aleut basket weaving from Anfeshia Shapsnikoff of Unalaska and Sharon Kay of Unga island, traditional kayak building from Sergie Sovoroff of Nikolski, wood carving from Phil Tutiakoff of Unalaska, and spear construction from Bill Tcheripanoff of Akutan island. Mike's traditional sea kayak construction techniques are portrayed in the Qayaqs & Canoes. His spearing techniques launched from a traditional skin kayak are portrayed in the British Broadcast Corporation's Edge of the Ice. Mike teaches traditional skills at culture camps in Alaska. Several of his digital still photographs will be portrayed in the Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion calendar in 2007.
Miranda McCoy, Student Filmmaker
c/o Longhouse Media
117 E. Louisa St. #131
Seattle, Washington 98102
U.S.A.
Phone: +1 206-387-2468
Filmmaking is Miranda's motivation to stay in school and keep away from drugs and alcohol. She has been a part of Native Lens for over 3 years. It is a major part of her life now. She has been able to express herself through this program by making short films and being a part of the different programs offered. She had always wanted to become a director and actress, and through this experience, she has come a long way toward accomplishing that goal. Through Native Lens Miranda has increased her education on media making and the different tools used to create the work. Native Lens has given her more confidence and the motivation to stay in school, to stay away from drugs, and to stay away from alcohol.
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Lurline Wailana McGregor
Mekko Productions, Inc.
1140-D Alewa Drive
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96817
U.S.A.

E-mail: wailanaone@earthlink.net
Phone: +1 808-595-8198
2006, Hokulea - Guiding Star
Lurline McGregor, producer and director of short videos, is a former director of Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC), the public television consortium responsible for programming by indigenous Pacific Islanders. She also served as executive director of 'Olelo Community Television, where she founded NATV, a public access television channel devoted to indigenous programming. Under her leadership, 'Olelo Community Television established video production training programs at rural O'ahu schools. She directed and produced Reality Show: A Video Diary of Joy Harjo and directed and co-produced Eagle Song, which was nominated for best music video at the American Indian Film Festival in 2002. McGregor currently works on legislative issues for the State Senate of Hawaii, and formerly worked on Native Hawaiian issues for Hui Na'auao, a coalition advocating Native Hawaiian sovereignty, and for the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs. McGregor received an MA in political science and public affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
171 Russell St. 1R
Brooklyn, New York 11222
U.S.A.
E-mail: okpeaha@yahoo.com
Phone: +1 917-743-5443
2006, Kinnaq Nigaqtuqtuaq (The Snaring Madman); Seal Hunting with Dad.
Andrew Okpeaha MacLean was born and raised in Alaska and has worked extensively in both film and theater. His films include Natchiliagniaqtuguk Aapagalu (Seal Hunting with Dad), which had its premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, was named one of the ten best short films at the festival by indiWire, and was selected to show at the Museum of Modern Art in April, Kinnaq Nigaqtuqtuaq (The Snaring Madman), Such a Perfect Day, and Aullaaqtuagut (We Live from the Land). His most recent film, When the Season Is Good: Artists of Arctic Alaska, feature-length documentary, premiered at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in November of 2005.

In his hometown of Barrow, Alaska, he co-founded the Inupiat Theater, the first theater company in the country dedicated to performing entirely in the indigenous Inupiaq language. He also served for three years as the Artistic Director of Stickfigure Productions, a theater company based in Seattle.

He has traveled in North and South America, Europe and New Zealand, worked in Siberia as a biological research assistant and is a member of the Little Kupaaq whaling crew in Barrow. He is a videographer for the Alaska Native Education Program and a recipient of the John H. Johnson Film Award, a 2004 Princess Grace Foundation Graduate Film Scholarship, and the 2003-2004 Martin E. Segal prize. In his career as a filmmaker he has been inspired by the work of traditional Inuit storytellers like Elijah Kakinya and Simon Paneak. He is pursing his MFA in film directing at New York University.

Tracy Rector
Longhouse Media
117 E. Louisa St. #131
Seattle, Washington 98102
U.S.A.
E-mail: nativelens@mac.com
Phone: +1 206-387-2468

Tracy Rector (Seminole) co-founded Longhouse Media, which houses the critically acclaimed youth media program Native Lens. Native Lens offers Indigenous youth from Canada to Brazil opportunities in digital storytelling as a means for self-expression, cultural reclamation and as a tool for environmental and social justice. Her youth producers have created award-winning shorts including the Seattle International Film Festival short film runner up Rez Life, a poignant coming of age piece reflecting the choices a Swinomish boy must make while on the road to manhood. Other Native Lens works include Swinville, Becoming and in production an environmental documentary called March Point. In collaboration with Annie Silverstein, Nick Clark, Travis Tom and Cody Cayou, this film addresses concerns about the effects of biotoxins from local oil refineries on the surrounding wild life, environment and cultural health. Tracy is also the co-producer of Teachings of the Tree People distributed by Native American Public Telecommunications, screened at National Geographic's All Roads Film Festival 2005 and Big Skye Documentary Film Festival 2006. This film tells the story of a powerful and generous spiritual leader of the Twana people, who went on to ignite a cultural revolution in the Pacific Northwest. Tracy is a proud mother, a filmmaker, the Executive Director of Longhouse Media and currently works for the Seattle Art Museum. She holds an undergraduate degree in communications and Native American Studies and has recently received her Masters Degree in Native American Education. Tracy grew up in Seattle but spent every summer in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her grandmother Clara.

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Chip Richie
Rich-Heape Films, Inc.
5952 Royal Lane, Suite 254-4
Dallas, Texas 75230
U.S.A.
E-mail: richheape@aol.com
Phone: +1 214-696-6916
2005, Black Indians: An American Story; 2006, The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy.

For twenty-five years Chip Richie has been directing and shooting corporate business pictures, television commercials and documentaries. His award winning videos have been produced on locations worldwide. He takes a hands-on approach to all his projects from pre-production through post and to delivery to the final audience. Chip Richie has produced and directed all of Rich-Heape Film projects.
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Paul M. Rickard
Mushkeg Media Inc.
103 Volleneuve Street W
Montreal, Quebec H2T 2R6
Canada
E-mail: mushkeg@videotron.ca
Phone: +1 514-279-3507

2004, Finding My Talk; 2006, Aboriginal Architecture - Living Architecture, The Winter Chill.

Mushkeg Media's president Paul M. Rickard is an Omuskego Cree from Moose Factory in Northern Ontario.   For the past ten years, he has been working as a producer, director and cameraman in collaboration with independent production companies and organizations such as Nutaaq Media Inc. Wildheart Productions, Wawatay, CBC North and the National Film Board of Canada. Now Paul is venturing into the area of independent production.

Paul studied radio and television production at the University of Western Ontario School of Journalism before joining Wawatay Native Communications Society as a television producer.

In 1994, he went south to Montreal to train as a camera operator with the National Film Board of Canada.  In this capacity, Rickard did cinematography on several NFB documentary films for broadcast, including Multiple Choices (Alison Burns), and First Nation Blue (Dan Prouty). He worked on a number of other independent productions, and in 1996-96 was producer/director of the CBC North TV series Maamuitau.

In 1996, he wrote, shot and directed his first film, entitled Ayouwin: A Way of Life. This documentary about Rickard's father, a trapper in Moose Factory, Ontario, was produced by Wildheart Productions for broadcast on the TVOntario Aboriginal series. 

In 1997, he directed Okimah at the National Film Board.  This film focuses on the knowledge handed down by Cree hunting leaders, the okimah, and stresses the importance of the annual goose hunt to the survival of traditional Cree culture.   Released in 35 mm, it premiered at the Vancouver Film Festival in 1998. In 1999, he directed and CO-produced Finding My Talk, a pilot for the 13 part series; Finding Our Talk, on APTN, now going into its second season.

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Don C. Selwyn
He Taonga Films
72 Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn
Auckland
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
hetaonga@woosh.co.nz
Phone: +64 (9) 376-0332

2005, Maori Merchant of Venice

Executive producer and director Don C. Selwyn has a long standing and distinguished career in the New Zealand film and television industry as an actor, producer and director.

He is a leading proponent of Maori drama, performed in both Maori and English, and a prime mover in encouraging respect for Maori viewpoints and culture in mainstream New Zealand film and television drama. He has devoted many years to training Maori and Pacific film makers and is a mentor and inspiration to many now working in the industry. He is a former member of the board of the New Zealand Film Commission.

His contribution was officially recognised in 1999, when he was awarded the New Zealand Honours Award Officer of NZ Merit (ONZM). He was awarded an honorary performing arts degree from Unitec in 1999 and he was New Zealander of the Year 1995 for his contribution to arts and culture. He received the Wellington Fringe Award for service to theatre, film and television and the National Film Board of Canada Alanis Obomsawin Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of Aboriginal film making in Canada at the Dreamspeakers Indigenous Film Festival in 1994.

A New Zealand Maori of Ngati Kuri and Te Aupouri descent, he grew up in Taumarunui in the centre of New Zealand's North Island, an area influenced by many different Maori iwi (tribes), with leaders initiating community projects for youth, education and te reo Maori (Maori language). He became a schoolteacher, noted for his pioneering methods at a multicultural school in Wellington .

Don Selwyn died April 13, 2007 in North Shore Hospital, after a long illness. He was 71. Here is what he meant to us.

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Jeff Silverman
Blueberry Productions, Inc.
1113 West 12th Avenue
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
U.S.A.
E-mail: jeff@blueberryproductions.com
Phone: +1 907-277-2583
2006, Living from the Land and Sea.

Jeff is an award-winning independent media producer for Blueberry Productions, Inc. of Anchorage, Alaska . With an emphasis on Native issues and culture, Jeff has produced, directed, and written programs for PBS, for education centers, and for political and health organizations. Jeff has directed live broadcasts as well as a weekly public affairs program, which aired statewide on public stations for seven years. Jeff is also an award-winning playwright and composer. Many of his plays have been staged in Alaska and other states of the Northwest. He composed and produced the theme music for Independent Native News, a five-minute daily program airing nationally on public radio. Jeff earned a B.A. in Film Production from Penn State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage . He graduated with honors and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi. He is also a member of the PBS/CPB Producers Academy and the International Documentary Association.

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Annie Silverstein
Longhouse Media
117 E. Louisa St. #131
Seattle, Washington 98102
U.S.A.
E-mail: as_nativelens@mac.com
Phone: +1 206-387-2468

Annie Silverstein has been working in the field of youth media for the past six years. While majoring in history and receiving a BA from Macalester College, Annie worked at Phillips Community Television as the program coordinator of Our Turn, a monthly television show produced by youth about issues affecting them and the Phillips community. She moved to Seattle in 2002 to direct the Young Producers Project at 911 Media Arts Center, and shortly after launched the Native Lens program in partnership with the Swinomish Tribe. In 2004 Silverstein wrote, shot, directed and produced A Jew's Guide to Christmas, a documentary short for KCTS, a Seattle PBS station.  A Jew's Guide to Christmas was also presented at “Distinguishing Features” at the Seattle Art Museum. Annie also works in partnership with a youth media organization in Rio de Janeiro called Nos Do Cinema, which teaches filmmaking to young people living in Rio's favelas. She is organizing an international exchange through Longhouse Media with these youth and with Native youth from communities in North America. Annie received a Fulbright Scholarship for her work on Nossas Historias, a case study on the social impact of teaching media making to youth in Rio's favelas.

In January 2005, Annie joined with Tracy Rector to launch Longhouse Media, a non-profit organization that supports the development of Native people in the media arts, and houses the Native Lens program for tribal youth. Native Lens films include Rez Life, Becoming, Father Coming Home and Searching . She is currently the Artistic Director for Longhouse Media, developing outreach for nationwide youth media education in Native communities and working with three Swinomish teenagers to shoot and direct a community documentary called March Point.

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Areya Isabel Simmons, Student Filmmaker
TROTH Productions
Stoystown, Pennsylvania 15563
U.S.A.
E-mail:
areya@areyasimmons.com
2006, Hg and Me

Areya Simmons is the youngest Full-Access Member of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, having begun her interest in screenwriting, filmmaking and production at age 9. When she was 16, she produced a documentary short titled, Hg and Me, which won two awards at the Bayer C.A.U.S.E. Challenge Film festival, as part of the Carnegie Science Center SciTech Spectacular in 2005. This same short was an Official Selection of the 3rd Annual Indigenous Film & Arts Festival in Denver Colorado, Sept. 27- Oct. 1, 2006 . The film discusses the problems of mecury/methelmercury contamination and suggests solutions for remediation. Her first full length documentary, “The Music Man” is in post-production now, and is slated for release in spring, 2007. She is currently working on a project for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Hillman Cancer Research Institute creating film vignettes for a patient website research study.

In addition to independent filmmaking, Areya is also a talented graphic design artist and website consultant. She has created or designed numerous websites for local businesses in and around Southwestern PA. She has started her own production company-TROTH Productions, a name she adopted from her first website she developed 6 years ago.

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Siaosi Talitimu
Polynesian Fiafia
4534 Cathay Street
Denver, Colorado 80249

Phone: +1 303-373-1137

E-mail: polyfiafia@msn.com

Born in the  very heart of Polynesia, I'iga Vui Siaosi Talitimu hails from the island of Savai'i in Samoa. Siaosi holds 2 High Chief titles---Vui from the region of Lano, and I'iga from Pu'apua. Born and raised in the culture (including song and dance) of Samoa, Siaosi carries on the legacy of entertaining from his ancestors. His late father, who was Speaker of the House of Parliament at the time of his passing was a composer of Samoan songs which are still sung in Samoa and in Polynesian shows anywhere in the world. In the 70's, Siaosi was chosen out of the entire island country to choreograph and direct a fundraising show tour of Europe, the US, and other island nations. He has performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican, Prince Charles, and at the Whitehouse at the invitation of Senator Ted Kennedy. After marrying an American, Siaosi founded the Polynesian Fiafia Showgroup--originally in Phoenix, and later relocating to Denver. Siaosi is Polynesian Fiafia's director, musician, vocalist, MC, drummer, and sometimes fire dancer. Siaosi and the Polynesian Fiafia entertained the guests at the 2nd Annual Indigenous Film & Arts Festival.
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