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Renaissance man: Ryan Begay: Engineer, actor, photographer, videographer … for starters

Editor’s note: Venue Plus continues “In Case You Didn’t Know,” a weekly feature with fun tidbits about New Mexicans and their projects.

One could call Ryan Begay a renaissance man.

The New Mexico native has spent years working on a number of crafts.

He’s an actor.

New Mexico-based actor Ryan Begay also owns his own production company, Sovereign Mind Productions. (Courtesy of Ryan Begay)

He’s a photographer. He’s a videographer. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Born in Gallup, Begay moved to Arizona before returning to New Mexico to pursue a life in the film industry full time.

He’s been successful.

Begay has worked on New Mexico-based projects such as “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” “The Night Shift,” “Get Shorty,” “Stargirl,” “Santa Fake,” “Fast Color” and “Drunktown’s Finest.”


His most recent gig was out of state in NBC’s coming series “Rutherford Falls.”

“It’s pretty interesting,” Begay says of the project. “It has a lot of Native actors in it.”

When he’s not on set, Begay is at the helm of his production company, Sovereign Mind Productions.

“I’ve doing doing public service announcements and other videos,” he says. “I was really just dabbling in it before 2015. That’s when I opened the company and it’s taken me a while to make connections in New Mexico. This past year, I was busy with PSAs and commercials.”

Begay’s journey has been filled with peaks and valleys. He got interested in the film industry while in the Air Force.

After leaving the military, he became a state systems engineer. It was then he began to take film classes.

“I made the switch from electrical engineer to film production,” he says. “Getting to know the camera department on each production has been fun. It takes the two worlds that I know and creates something magical.”

Since he moved back, Begay’s network has grown and he’s excited for the future.

“I want to create Navajo content,” he says. “I’ve been working hard to get here. I’ve went through the state’s FCAP (Film Crew Advancement Program) and I got my bachelors at IAIA (Institute of American Indian Arts) in Santa Fe.”

1 “I recently started rock climbing.”

2 “I enjoy dancing.”

3 “I have a twin sister.”

4 “I like to shoot on film again. Maybe do a short film on 32mm print that would be something to do. Or even shoot on 16mm. The last project I did was ‘Succession’ on HBO, and they shot on film.”

5 “I love to cook. I can make some great frybread. I’ve been working on it for the past six months.”

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