The Mancos-based Tribal College Journal is shining a spotlight on Native American filmmakers by again partnering with the Pocahontas Reframed Storytellers Film Festival.
Tribal College Journal is a national, nonprofit media organization operated by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. For the past five years, the group has held a TCJ Student film contest, and this year’s winner will receive a $1,000 prize along with an all-expenses-paid trip to the film festival in Richmond, Virginia, in November.
“Most folks are unaware, but there are some outstanding artists and tremendous creative energy at tribal colleges and universities,” Tribal College Journal editor Bradley Shreve told The Journal. “In partnering with the Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival, TCJ is able to offer tribal college student filmmakers a wonderful opportunity to showcase their work to a national, even international, audience.”
This is the fourth year of the festival, which aims to honor Native Americans’ contributions and highlight their language and culture through their perspective and lens.
“Storytelling and filmmaking have suffered from a lack of representation of important groups that influenced American democracy, notably Native Americans,” said festival organizer Bradby Brown in a statement. “Native culture is rich, steeped in history, and multifaceted, yet mainstream films do not often capture this nuance. With this partnership we hope to honor the contributions of Native student filmmakers and reinvigorate the conversations about telling stories of indigenous life.”
The festival will be held at the historic Byrd Theatre from Nov. 20-22. Other renowned filmmakers, actors and artists who have attended it include Michael Horse, Shelley Niro, Darlene Naponse, George Aguilar and Pura Fé.
Tribal College Journal has covered the news and issues of tribal colleges for more than three decades. It’s operated by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, a nonprofit that supports and advocates for the nation’s accredited tribal colleges and universities.
Last year, Michael R. L. Begay won the TCJ Student best film award for his 6½ minute thriller, “Lighting Boy,” featuring a culturally based storyline, special effects and a performance by poet and writer Vivian Mary Carroll. Begay, who is Santo Domingo Pueblo and Navajo, is a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and studies cinematic arts and technology at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
Begay presented his film as part of the Pocahontas Reframed shorts program.
“This is an important step in supporting and increasing awareness of indigenous filmmaking,” Shreve said.
To participate in the TCJ Student film contest, students must be enrolled at an AIHEC-affiliated tribal college. Films should be under 30 minutes in length, and the deadline to submit entries is March 27.
For more information on the contest and to access the official entry form, visit the contest’s website at http://tcjstudent.org/contest/.