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Vision Maker Media

2020 Funded Films

Public Media Project Fund Award Winners
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Ready for new Indigenous media?

Vision Maker Media is excited to announce our 2020 Public Media Project Fund winners!

Each year, Vision Maker Media funds an average of 10-12 media projects that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Films were reviewed and approved based on Native involvement, topics, guideline eligibility, relevance and quality.

Films are funded at all stages of the production process, with some still in research while others are nearing the end of production. Keep up-to-date with Vision Maker Media’s newsletter and social media to watch these films develop and catch their big premieres!

90% of 2020 funded productions are Native-led.

100% have significant Native involvement.

The Land Remembers

Documentary | Research & Development

More than 2.4 billion acres. That’s how much land Indigenous people of the United States once held. Today they control just 56 million acres, or 2 percent of what was once theirs. But across the country, farmers, local governments and environmental advocates are returning that land, acre by acre. Not because they have to, but because they want to. “The Land Remembers” chronicles this story of a growing grassroots movement of reconciliation.

coming round

Documentary | production

Very few encounters between European colonists and Native Americans could be considered to have benefitted the Native population, either directly or indirectly. Yet a relationship that began over 200 years ago between the Kashia Pomo of the Northern California coast and Russian settlers who founded Fort Ross has recently been revived, energizing the tribe’s cultural traditions in their successful quest for ownership and return of ancient lands.

older than the crown

Documentary | post-production

After the deliberate separation and an unjust declaration of extinction, the Sinixt people return to their ancestral land in Canada to continue practicing and protecting their aboriginal rights.

when they were here

Documentary | production

Indigenous women and girls face rates of violence unlike any other group. The stories of these women and girls go beyond the statistics and figures used to define them. They were mothers; they were grandmas; they were daughters; they were loved when they were here.

A Wicked Act

Documentary | production

A Wicked Act examines the 1999 convictions of four Native young men. Like New York’s Central Park 5, Marvin Roberts, George Frese, Eugene Vent and Kevin Pease were accused of ‘wilding’ and found guilty of the sexual assault and murder of John Hartman, a local white teenager. In November 2015, 18 years later, amidst revelations of state misconduct and cover ups set in motion by the Alaska Innocence Project and a powerful Indigenous civil rights movement, the state has erased the men’s convictions; but without a formal exoneration, they do not have the right to reparations from the state for wrongful conviction. These men now face adulthood without the resources and life experiences that a free citizen would have learned from and lived.

Crossing the Line

Docuseries | research & development

Out beyond the vast and expansive landscapes of the Navajo reservation, a decade’s long epidemic of violence and discrimination continues to exist and thrive in the towns and cities that border Navajo communities. In border towns like Gallup, Farmington and Albuquerque, New Mexico and Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona, Native Americans are statistically four times as likely to be victims of violent crime and also just as likely to be victims of the police department. This four-part docuseries examines the epidemic of violence that surrounds Navajo communities, identifying and exposing the racial tension that exists in these towns through the history of those who have fought and continue to fight to make a change in these spaces.

sweet land

Documentary | Production

What happens when an opera imagines myths erased from America’s dark past? How does art and culture grapple with the uncomfortable truths at the heart of this country’s identity? How can performance and activism rediscover erased aspects of Native culture and the land? These questions and more are what we will explore in Sweet Land, an hour-long Artbound episode, produced by L.A.’s experimental opera company, The Industry, and KCET / Public Media Group of Southern California.

ground works

Documentary | post-Production

At the historic moment in California’s history half a century in the making, where Columbus Day becomes Indigenous People’s Day 50 years after the occupation of Alcatraz, a group of native artist/activists address issues of contemporary indigeneity. Using their talents to understand and defend water rights, food security, and land management. L Frank, Ras K’Dee, Desirae Harp, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Bernadette Smith, in collaboration with Dancing Earth Creations combine traditional knowledge with contemporary practice to re-story the land.

apache 8: beyond the fire

Documentary | Research & Development

Apache 8: The New Generation. The recent catastrophic fires caused by climate change are a wakeup call to recognize the importance of Apache methods of fire prevention and fuel management. Young Apache women firefighters are taking on the responsibility to protect their 1.67 million acre reservation and set an example for the rest of the world.

healthy active natives series

Docuseries | Research & Development

Frustrated with the lack of information about Native health, Waylon Pahona founded the Facebook page Healthy Active Natives (HANs) to empower Native People. Now over 74,000 members, HANs is one of the world’s largest Native American Health and Fitness groups on Social Media today. This journey follows three Native individuals struggling with physical and emotional limitations who derive inspiration and the strength to be healthy from the HANs community.

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