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Workshop open to Indigenous filmmakers in NM

A scene from a film by Blackhorse Lowe. The Navajo filmmaker took eight years to get the film from page to screen. (Courtesy of Blackhorse Lowe)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Film Office and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center are collaborating to promote film opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers.

The two-day virtual workshop will take place from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Registration is at in the calendar of events.

bright spot logoParticipants in the “Indigenous Film Industry Workshop: Process to Production” will be provided with resources, action items and professional contacts that can help launch or advance a career in the industry.

The event will feature a variety of topics presented by experts in their fields, including Indigenous writers, actors and composers.

“We’re really excited and we’re hoping that it will become an annual event,” said Karen Criswell, city of Albuquerque film liaison. “We have an incredible amount of untapped talent in our Indigenous community. I want to make sure we provide them with the opportunity to create and celebrate their own stories.”

Criswell says the project was led by the IPCC.

“IPCC is excited to cosponsor this workshop,” said Beverlee McClure, who is coordinating the event for the Cultural Center. “As the film industry continues to grow, we want the number of Native Americans working in the industry to grow as well. This workshop will provide an overview of the careers in the film industry, as well as make meaningful connections.”

Criswell and McClure moved quickly to secure the panelists and kept it diverse – all in a span of three months.

“We have a mix of studios, independent filmmakers and local tech wizards,” Criswell said.

Criswell said the program is open to indigenous filmmakers across the state.

There will be 10 segments provided for filmmakers.

Presenters secured for the event include:

• The Netflix team of all-indigenous writers/creators behind the animated children’s series “Spirit Rangers” about three siblings who transform into animal spirits to conserve a national park. Karissa Valencia, Joey Clift and Carlee Malemute will be discussing their writing process, the use of traditional art in the animation, and how the show developed.

• Mo Brings Plenty, an Oglala Lakota actor on such productions as “Yellowstone,” “The Revenant” and “Cowboys & Aliens,” will provide insights on preparation for work on camera.

• Annie Chang, vice president of Creative Technologies for NBCUniversal, will be part of a panel on emerging technologies and the importance of their use in storytelling for film.

• Brent Michael Davids, America’s most seasoned Native American composer of concert music and film scores, will speak about music composition.

• Aaron Estrada, the head of visual effects (VFX) for the regional production office of Crafty Apes will be part of a group discussion on VFX, games, and animation.

• Scott Rowe, former marketing executive for Warner Bros., will serve as a moderator.

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