Vision Maker Media funds nearly $1.2 million in direct support to Native films

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Vision Maker Media funded $1,000,000 to eleven documentaries through its 2022 Public Media Fund for future television broadcasting, and $180,000 through its Creative Shorts Fellowship fund to emerging Native filmmakers and their film mentorships.

Through these projects, VMM’s total support provides representation to nineteen Native Nations throughout the US in media. Film topics range from social justice, climate and environment, health and wellness, democracy, and arts. Areas of funding support, through the Public Media Fund, are for: research and development, production, or post-production in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $150,000. Funding for the Creative Shorts Fellowship is up to $25,000 for production and completion of a short film in any genre, with Vision Maker Media paying mentors $5,000.

Check out the list of projects supported this year.

The 2022 Public Media Fund

Natalie Benally

Decolonizing the Plate (Working Title)

A Diné woman follows the story of a Peruvian-born chef, who is reconnecting with his Indigenous culinary roots, and learns more about herself.

Natalie Benally (Navajo),Writer/Executive Producer/Host, from New Mexico funded for Production.

Judith LeBlanc

The Good Relative (Working Title)

An internationally renowned and revered elder of the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota battles to protect the tribe’s water rights.

Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), Executive Producer, from New York funded for Production.

charles kennedye

Under the Battle Tipi: Kiowa Black leggings Warrior Society

The Ton-Kon-Gah, a longstanding warrior society still active among the Kiowa Tribe.

Charles Kennedye (Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma), Producer/Director, from Oklahoma funded for Production.

Alaska Native Health Equity Project

Water and sanitation issues are affecting community health in Alaska Native villages.

Jaclyn Sallee (Inupiaq), Executive Producer, from Alaska funded for Production.

Elizabeth Day

Without Arrows

A young man escapes trauma to a new town, but returns years later to heal.

Elizabeth Day (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Director/Producer, from Minnesota funded for Production.

Ramona Emerson


Victims of violence and the fight to make effective change.

Ramona D. Emerson (Navajo), Director/Writer/Co-producer, from New Mexico funded for Production.

Leya Hale

Boucha (Working Title)

A man uncovering hidden pride for his people and culture.

Leya Hale (Dakota, Diné), Director, Producer, from Minnesota funded for Production.

Raven Two Feathers

Indigenous Genders (Working Title)

Exploring the lives of people, who are challenging gender norms.

Raven Two Feathers (Cherokee, Seneca, Cayuga, Comanche), Producer/Director, from Washington funded for 2nd Phase Production.

Victoria Westover
Mike Wilson

Whose Land? O'odham Land! (Working Title)

Explores the impact of US-Mexico border policy on O’odham peoples.

Victoria Westover, Producer/Co-Director, Mike Wilson (Tohono O’odham Tribe), Producer/Co-Director, from Arizona funded for Research and Development.

Jeff Bieber

RED POWER RISING: Heirs to the Revolution (Working Title)

A radical retelling of the American Indian civil rights struggle.

Jeff Bieber, Co-Executive Producer, from Maryland funded for Research and Development.

Stephanie Carter

The Bigger Picture: Frances Densmore and Mountain Chief (1916)

How iconic photographs have shaped our understanding of the past.

Stephanie Carter, Executive Producer, from New York funded for Post-Production.

The Creative Shorts Fellowship

Randi LeClair

The Circle of Chawce

A boy’s family mythology comes to life in a 4th grade classroom.

Fellow/Writer/Director: Randi LeClair (Pawnee Nation) from Oklahoma

Mentor: Ramona D. Emerson (Navajo Nation Northern Navajo Agency)

Alexander Nystrom

Four Nights and a Fire

A departed Ojibwe journeys to the afterlife, while a surviving relative finds resilience in the departed’s footsteps.

Fellow/Writer/Director: Alexander Nystrom (Red Cliff Band of Chippewa Indians) from California

Mentor: Amman Abbasi

Tisina Ta-till-ium Parker

[Native] Fire As Medicine

California First Nations firefighters, ecologists, and cultural burn leaders use fire for Native cultural revitalization and catastrophic fire prevention.

Fellow/Writer/Producer/Director: Tisina Ta-till-ium Parker (Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation/Kudadiki Paiute/Kashia Pomo) from California

Mentor: Cecilia Shakerley

Tanis Parenteau

Glenburn 12 WP

A woman grapples to cope, process, and understand the MMIW occurrence of her friend.

Fellow/Producer/Lead Actor: Tanis Parenteau (Métis Nation of Alberta (Cree)) from New York

Mentor: Yvonne Russo (Rosebud Reservation – Lakota)

Littlebear Sanchez

Lookout 32

Isolated, a firewatcher discovers a terrifying Native American legend.

Fellow/Director/Producer/Writer: Littlebear Sanchez (Lipan Apache) from California

Mentor: Nathan Harrison

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