Dedicated to
Our Mission

Our mission and vision

Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories.

We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate.

Photo from "What Was Ours"
Image from What Was Ours

PUBLIC MEDIA BY & ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS

What began as a film archive to conserve and document Native American stories, transformed into the nation’s leader in content by and about Indigenous people for public broadcasting. Vision Maker Media works with Native producers to develop, produce, and distribute programs to educate audiences. We empower Native youth to grow up with stories that represent their backgrounds and with figures that embody their culture. Vision Maker Media generates important public conversations about present-day Native issues and sheds a long-overdue light on the foundation of American history through Native American stories.

What We Do
Explore What We Do At
Vision Maker Media

Our Values

Image from Under the Battle Tipi
45th Icon FINAL

THE PREMIER SOURCE OF PUBLIC MEDIA BY AND ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS FOR OVER 45 YEARS.
Vision Maker Media’s mission is empowering and engaging Native American people to share their stories. We envision a world healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. We work with VMM funded producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all public media. VMM supports training to increase the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs.

We bring Indigenous storytelling to your home through community-based digital events, social media feeds and online film programs.

Nurturing Youth

We nurture the next generation of storytellers through partnerships with sustainable Native youth media training programs.

Mentorship & Funding

We provide Native filmmakers with professional workshops, funding, internships and mentorship programs.

Education

We help educators effectively cover present-day and historical Native topics through free viewer discussion guides.

Our Team

Staff Members

Francene Blythe-Lewis

Executive Director

(Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Eastern Band Cherokee)

Georgiana Lee

Director of Programs & Projects

(Navajo/Dine)

Gregg Jablonski

Director of Accounting & Finance

Ann Mckeighan

Administrative Project Coordinator

Kris Stanley

Project Coordinator

Alana Stone

Project Manager

(Sicangu Lakota)

Brittany Grove

Contracts & Accounting Associate

Board of Directors

Joely Proudfit

Chair

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Franz Joachim

Secretary

RANDAL P. HANSEN​

Treasurer

Darius Lee Smith

Elizabeth Weatherford

Jason Booth

Kate Beane

La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow

Laura Hunter

Paul Hunton

Phil Hoffman

Yvonne Bushyhead

Our Work

Nuturing Youth

We nurture the next generation of storytellers through partnerships with sustainable Native youth media training programs.

Mentorship & Funding

We provide Native filmmakers with professional workshops, funding, internships and mentorship programs.

Education

We help educators effectively cover present-day and historical Native
topics through free viewer discussion guides.

FOR OVER 45 YEARS
We've Educated
The Nation

Vision Maker Media fans and media consumers spread vastly across the United States and even worldwide, reaching younger and older audiences alike. Distinctive Native American tribes, cultures, histories and stories can be found everywhere and can be enjoyed by all age groups.

National Multicultural alliance

An alliance of five distinct national organizations, we bring authentic stories and diverse perspectives of America’s multicultural communities to public media and its digital platforms, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Learn more at nmcalliance.org

explore what we do at vision maker media

Learn why Native representation in the media is vitally important.
See the positive impact we’re making for our filmmakers in your community.

News & Updates

Explore film updates, learn more about modern-day Native culture, go behind the scenes with the filmmakers, and keep up with the latest and greatest at Vision Maker Media.

Francene Blythe-Lewis

Executive Director

Diné, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Eastern Band Cherokee

“The visionary”

Role: Francene oversees and directs the entire staff at Vision Maker Media. She keeps her team moving towards our mission to propel VMM to the forefront of storytelling, innovation and creative thinking. An advocate for supporting Native American filmmakers and Native American media, she believes the most important aspects of Native and Indigenous stories are rooted throughout the millennia of time.

Executive Director Francene Blythe-Lewis

Georgiana Lee

Director of Programs & Projects

Navajo/Diné

“Smiles a Lot”

Role: Georgiana “George” Lee  worked for Vision Maker Media from 2009 – 2017 as the Assistant Director. She’s back and ready to continue helping filmmakers navigate the public media system to achieve a successful national broadcast on PBS. George’s experience includes producer, location manager, and unit production manager with the New Mexico Filmmakers Intensive and has worked with many filmmakers over the years.

Director of Programs and Projects Georgiana Lee

Gregg Jablonski

Director of Accounting & Finance

“Money Man”

Role: Gregg makes sure the budget is balanced, and keeps Vision Maker Media from getting in trouble (at least financially). Gregg likes to laugh while dealing with numbers but occasionally cries. Gregg enjoys his new Vision Maker Media friends.

Director of Accounting and Finance Gregg Jablonski

Ann McKeighan

Administrative Project Coordinator

"Detail Queen"

Role: Ann is the glue tying all the departments together, making sure no detail gets swept under the rug. From Shop Vision Maker management, to organizing filmmaker contracts, final proofreading, and even office birthday celebrations, Ann isn’t just the department assistant. She’s the department superhero.

Kris Stanley

Project Coordinator

“New Guy”

Role: Before his current role at Vision Maker Media, Kris spent more than a decade in New York City working on productions. His previous jobs include editor for shows on the Food Network, art director for a comedy tour, assistant production manager, art department coordinator and behind the scenes photographer for various commercial projects.

Alana Stone

Project Manager

Sicangu Lakota

"Office Fashionista"

Role: Alana is the resident event planner and grant writing expert at Vision Maker Media. You can find her calmly and quietly juggling all the many moving parts for the next big event between sips of kombucha.

Project Manager Alana Stone

Brittany Grove

Contracts & Accounting Associate

“Data Conqueror”

Role: Brittany gathers the moving pieces to our teams’ products and productions. She’s all about a proactive process within an ever evolving workplace. Enjoys heavily caffeinated contract reviewing with creative financial thinking.

Contracts and Accounting Associate Brittany Grove

Joely Proudfit

chair

Dr. Proudfit serves as the Department Chair of the American Indian Studies Department and the Director of the California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center at CSUSM. She is the Executive Director of the California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival. In 2016 she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. In 2021 California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed her to the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Proudfit is President and Owner of Native Media Strategies, LLC, which consults, collaborates, and produces with the entertainment industries and professionals to develop inclusive strategies in fostering authentic representation of Native Americans. Her most recent project is the children animated series Spirit Rangers on Netflix. She owns Naqmayam Communications, an independent, full-service, public relations agency. 

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.

Franz Joachim

Secretary

Franz Joachim is the general manager and CEO of the New Mexico PBS in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Prior to that, he served as the content director at the station and was in charge of all content–local national, web-based and mobile for the station. From 1999 to 2010, Franz was the production manager at KNME Channel 5, managing all production technical and human resources for all local production. He also served as senior editor and television director at WUSF/WGCU, as studio supervisor at KUAT-TV and at KUAT Communications Group. His production credits include documentary work on Desert Reefs and Desert Speaks. He has nearly 23 years of world wide diving experience.

RANDAL P. HANSEN

Treasurer

Randal P. Hansen is treasurer for the Vision Maker Media board of directors, serving the organization for the past eight years. His experience in the nonprofit sector includes current positions as assistant general manager of administration and finance for the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission and University of Nebraska Television, and treasurer and assistant secretary for the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission and the NET Foundations for Television and Radio.

DARIUS LEE SMITH

Darius Lee Smith is Diné and African American and currently serves as both the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office within the City and County of Denver’s Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, and the Liaison to both the Denver African American and American Indian Commissions. Darius earned a Baccalaureate degree in Communications from Azusa Pacific University, a certificate in American Indian History and Cultures from the University of Denver, and a Masters of Nonprofit Management/Leadership Training and Development from Regis University. Darius has served the American Indian community since 1992 as the Director of Indian Education for Denver Public Schools, National Director of the Natives Peoples’ Initiative for Habitat for Humanity International, Board Member of the Denver Indian Center and President of the Colorado Indian Education Foundation.
Darius Smith

Elizabeth Weatherford

Elizabeth Weatherford is a Board member of Vision Maker Media, and the founder and emeritus director of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and its Native American Film + Video Festival in New York City and Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe.

JASON BOOTH

Jason Booth is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. He is an experienced and entrepreneurial business executive who has worked with both corporate America and tribal communities through the businesses he has owned. Jason is currently a Principal and Owner with Windward Engineers & Consultants, an industry leading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering design services firm. Booth also started and ran The Patient Source, the nation’s largest Native-owned health education agency working with the healthcare industry. As a volunteer, Jason works with tribal organizations and non-profits focused on advancing the prospects for young people in education and commerce. Jason served on the board of directors of INROADS, Inc. where he helped the organization align their philanthropy program. Booth also worked with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as they launched the entity and became the leader in assisting Natives with land recovery and control. Jason is married for 27 years and is the proud father of three college age children.
JASON BOOTH

Kate Beane

Kate Beane is Flandreau Santee Sioux and Director of Native American Initiatives (NAI) at the Minnesota Historical Society.

La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow

La quen náay, Haida/Tlingit, is from Ḵéex̱ʼ Kwáan (Kake), Alaska. She is an enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Organized Village of Kake. La quen náay received her BA (BFA Equivalency) from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and her law degree from Arizona State University College of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Indian Law. Since coming to First Alaskans Institute, La quen náay has served as the Director of the Alaska Native Policy Center, Vice-President, and now serves as the President/CEO, providing a direct path for service to our Native peoples.

LAURA HUNTER

Dr. Laura Hunter (she/her) is chief operating officer for the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) and station manager for public broadcaster KUEN, providing robust broadband and broadcast services statewide. Her team manages online learning platforms for all of Utah’s higher education institutions, schools, and public libraries. Hunter is a collaborative leader, recognized for finding innovative solutions to challenging problems. She serves on the board of America’s Public Television Stations and previously on the NETA executive committee. Hunter was co-PI for two NSF cyberinfrastructure grants and appointed by Utah’s Governor to manage the state’s college advising portal across several agencies. She is executive producer of over 280 innovative and award-winning videos, websites, and curricula. Dr. Hunter holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a research focus on educational technology, master’s degree in Education, and bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, certificates in Public Leadership from Harvard University, Non-Profit Leadership from Georgetown University, and Diversity Leadership from Furman University.
Laura Hunter

Paul Hunton

Paul Allen Hunton is the President of WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio. He is a 3-time regional Emmy winning documentary director, a former member of the PBS Board of Directors, and the former chair of Texas PBS.

Before coming to North Carolina Paul was the General Manager of Texas Tech Public Media for 7 years where he led the successful acquisition of PBS El Paso and the strategic realignment of the organization into a regional multiplatform news and content company serving West Texas.

Phil Hoffman


Dr. Phil Hoffman is Assistant Dean of Media & General Manager at Ball State Public Media (BSPM). BSPM includes Ball State PBS and Indiana Public Radio, a radio network featuring NPR news and arts in East Central Indiana and the Indianapolis suburbs. A veteran public media leader, Phil has served in Ohio, Missouri, Florida and Indiana as a leader of public media stations. His media career began in Akron, Ohio at WKDD and WAKR. He also worked as a reporter and producer at WAKC TV in Akron and led 91.3 The Summit in Akron for nearly a decade. Phil has served on the boards of Florida Public Media, Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, and NETA, as well at the Central Great Lakes and Mid-American Region National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

YVONNE BUSHYHEAD

Yvonne Bushyhead is enrolled Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee have resided in the southeast for over 12,000 years. Ms. Bushyhead has a baccalaureate degree in Social Work, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Juris Doctorate. During her career, Yvonne served in the forming of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, served as the President of Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago, NE, and served as CEO of the Indian Health Board in Minneapolis, MN. She also toured Costa Rica on three occasions for 3-4 weeks each time regarding environmental issues, working for upholding environmental impacts and causes.
Yvonne Bushyhead

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.