SANTA FE—Milagro at Los Luceros, the SmithsonianNationalMuseum of the American Indian, and the Center for Contemporary Arts has wrapped up the 1st Annual Native Cinema Summit in Santa Fe. The two-day summit was held during the 2010 Indian Market and the 10th anniversary Native Cinema Showcase presented by Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Center for Contemporary Arts and Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.
The participants at the Native Cinema Summit are outstanding Native American and indigenous filmmakers and supporting professional film organizations, state and tribal officials and people key to the founding in New Mexico of Milagro at Los Luceros, a collaborative initiative between Robert Redford, Governor Bill Richardson, part of a strategic plan to develop New Mexico as a key player in independent film production.
The two-day discussion of the Native Cinema Summit focused on aspects of current and future support for Native cinema, and discussed strategies for enhancing Native Americans’ professional presence in the independent film and media world.
The Summit set the stage for the roundtable discussion to take up priorities for developing support and professional opportunities for the field of Native American film and media in the United States.
It also launched a new initiative to create an on-going network of filmmakers and cultural activists who are concerned that Native stories of all kinds are told on film, and that there are new, enhanced, possibilities for these films to be produced and to find their audiences.
Participants were some of the major presences in Native film today from the United States, Canada and Australia. These include Chad Burris (Chickasaw), Neil Diamond (Cree), Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho), Gary Farmer (Cayuga), Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek), James Kinistino (Saulteaux), Larry Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo), Laura Milliken (Ojibwe), Rachel Perkins (Arrernte/Kalkadoon), Scott Garin, Reaghan Tarbell (Mohawk), Ramona Emerson (Navajo) and Ernie Webb (Cree).
Other participants were directors of leading Native American film organizations and initiatives, including Francine Blythe of National Geographic’s All Roads Project; Bird Runningwater of Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program; and Shirley Sneve, Executive Director of Native American Public Telecommunications.
Robert Redford, founding director of the Sundance Institute and Film Festival, addressed the meeting in a video message from Sundance, Utah.
Attending from the SmithsonianNationalMuseum of the American Indian were John Haworth, director of NMAI’s GeorgeGustavHeyeCenter in New York, assistant to the director Machel Monenerkit, Reaghan Tarbell, Melissa Bisagni and Aleena Chalan.
Participating in discussions about New Mexico’s Milagro initiative and arts as an economic driver on Friday were state and tribal leaders and officials, educators and economic developers including: Deputy Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House Regis Pecos; Deputy Secretary of Indian Affairs Marvis Aragon; Chairman of the All Indian Pueblo Council Gregory T. Ortiz: Tribal Administrator of Zia Pueblo Peter Pino; Tribal Operations Manager of Acoma Pueblo Chris Ahmie; Pueblo of Laguna’s Alice Fernando-Ahmie; Chief Planner for Cochiti Pueblo Bill Fisher; Dean of the Institute for American Indian Arts Dr. Ann Filemyr; Project Manager Pueblo of Zia Jai Laskshman; Ken Lingad and Genieveve Gonzales from 1680 PR.
The founding organizers of the Native Cinema Summit are Lisa Strout, Director of the New Mexico Film Office, Kathleen Broyles, Program Director of Milagro at Los Luceros, Jason Silverman, co-director of Native Cinema Showcase and Cinematheque Director at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, and Elizabeth Weatherford, co-director of Native Cinema Showcase and Director of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.