Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
The late state Sen. John Pinto was known for his relentless support of the Native American film industry.
In 2019, legislation provided $100,000 for a newly created grant called the Senator John Pinto Memorial Fund.
“I am very grateful to (Senator) John Pinto for creating this grant for Native American filmmakers in New Mexico,” said filmmaker Leahn Marie Cox. “It takes effort to appreciate traditional indigenous knowledge in the world today. I do not lament this, but see this serious challenge as unique and demanding.”
The grants are open to include members from several tribal affiliations, exploring topics including missing women, ancient healing, modern-day culture clashes and entrepreneurship.
The New Mexico State Film Office announced the winners Monday.
“Supporting diversity in the film industry is vital to expanding diversity on a larger scale, as film is a cornerstone of our culture and history. Each of these filmmakers has an essential story to tell and the Senator John Pinto Memorial Fund awards will help bring these stories to the screen,” said Amber Dodson, New Mexico Film Office director. “We are immensely thankful to the late Sen. John Pinto and his granddaughter, Sen. Shannon Pinto, and truly thrilled to support diverse storytelling and filmmaking in New Mexico.”
Twenty $5,000 grants were awarded to Native film students and filmmakers living and working in New Mexico. The funds can be used toward pre-production, production and post-production. Grantees must be registered members of one of the tribes or pueblos of New Mexico.
“All of these filmmakers expressed an enduring need to be the bearers of their own stories, and no longer accept the inconsistency of having stories told about their culture from an outsider’s viewpoint,” said Alicia J. Keyes, state Economic Development secretary. “That’s the legacy of Sen. John Pinto and why we are honored to highlight this work.”
The SJP applications were reviewed by judges Chris Eyre, Nanobah Becker, Ramona Emerson and Beverly Morris.
Sen. Shannon Pinto thanked the applicants for helping make this a reality.
“Congratulations to the Native American filmmaker awardees, I hope your endeavors lead to extraordinary experiences and long-lasting relationships that change lives for you and the underrepresented communities, said Shannon Pinto.
The following projects were approved for SJP funds:
• “Chindi,” submitted by Robert Mesa (Navajo and Soboba)
• “Diyin – Holy Project,” submitted by Carrie House (Diné)
• “Dream Touch Believe,” submitted by Jenna Winters (Santa Clara Pueblo)
• “Feeding Po’Pay,” submitted by Geoffrey Kie (Pueblo of Laguna)
• “Heroes of the West,” submitted by Lydell Mitchell (Diné)
• “Homeopathy for Native America” (working title), submitted by Leahn Marie Cox (Navajo)
• “Just Kids,” submitted by Forrest Goodluck (Diné)
• “Lloyd ‘Kiva’ New: An American Entrepreneur,” submitted by Nathaniel Fuentes (Santa Clara Pueblo)
• “Marlon,” submitted by Kevin Brown (Navajo)
• “Meow Loses a Button” (working title), submitted by Melissa Henry (Navajo)
• “Mother’s Day,” submitted by Natalie Benally (Navajo)
• “No Love 4 Lamb,” submitted by Jonathan Sims (Pueblo of Acoma)
• A Public Service Announcement Video for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW), submitted by Cameron L. Martinez Jr. (Taos Pueblo and Laguna Pueblo)
• “Re-Indigenizing Minds,” submitted by Colleen Gorman (Diné)
• “River Bank,” submitted by Charine Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
• “Rez Dogs,” submitted by Steven Tallas (Navajo)
• “Rude Girl,” submitted by Joshua Zunie (Zuni Pueblo)
• “Three Generations: A Family of Artists,” submitted by Dawning Pollen Shorty (Taos Pueblo/Sioux and Diné)
• “Together,” submitted by Stanley Bain Jr. (Navajo)
• “Yazhi Boy,” submitted by Daniel Edward Hyde (Navajo and Belizean)