Media For Change Workshop 2011 in Santa Fe by Randy Vasquez

Media For Change Workshop 2011 in Santa Fe by Randy Vasquez

Randy Vasquez grew up on the beaches of southern California and in the mountains of North Carolina. He has been an actor since 1983.

Date Posted: 
2011-08-31 00:00

Blog Series:


When I got the invitation to go to Santa Fe from Vision Maker Media to attend the Media For Change Workshop, I thought, “Oh yeah, Santa Fe during Indian Market? Never done that. I’m in.” So along with my girlfriend, Joyce, we arrived that Thursday by plane. The trip was an especially big thrill for Joyce who had never been to New Mexico. I was excited for her as we took the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe because as a photographer I knew she’d have plenty to shoot. Upon arrival into town I hooked up with my friends and fellow filmmakers Sydney Freeland and Julianna Brannum. The four of us drove to the plaza where the action was. We cruised the galleries where we met Bruce Curliss, training manager at Tesuque Pueblo, renowned artist Joanna Bigfeather and fun-guy performance artist James Luna. Friday night in the plaza a group of us were fortunate enough to run into and chat with LaDonna Harris. What a wonderful person.

Friday we all gathered at IAIA to listen to Molly Murphy from Working Films, about 35 of us. Here are the main things I cam away with from the workshop:

- Before I start my next film project I’m going to think of partnerships down the road and how they can help in expanding my film’s reach.

- Regarding my film’s topic, What’s the problem? What’s the solution?

- Groups appropriate for me to reach out to with my film – survivor’s groups, psychological groups and organizations, new age healing groups, reconciliation and transitional justice groups.

- How will my film engage communities?

- What laws or policies could my film help create?

Molly had us divide into groups of 2 or 3 to pitch our projects. I got together with filmmaker Yolanda Cruz and Nathaniel James, a consultant and program planner for social sectors. They helped me to get beyond the clichés of describing my film, for instance avoiding phrases like “to build awareness of the issue” and avoiding political descriptions, instead sticking with Walter Littlemoon’s personal story, stay with the key points of what Walter is dealing with, which is his mental journey.

The conflict I personally had with Molly’s example of the Vanishing of the Bees doc she used to sell Working Films was in relating it to a personal but also a politically tinged film like mine that directly deals with the impacts of the United States government’s relationship to Indians, the boarding schools. Making organizations and corporations care about partnering up to build audience awareness for Native stories is tough at best as compared to documentaries that are topic-based on saving the environment. Nonetheless, I still came away with some tools not to mention the benefits of meeting new friends among the other filmmakers.

At the end of the day, Shirley Sneve got us to think in terms of how Native film can move forward in a more efficient and influential way. For me, an old school guy, being made aware of the direction in which the internet market is being driven by more short attention span stories was eye-opening. Adrian Baker’s project, Injunuity, was a sophisticated example of how this can be done but with profound and entertaining results.

Late Friday afternoon was a relaxing group dinner and Saturday was spent at the Market enjoying the crowds and beautiful Indian art. Can't wait to go again. Thank you Vision Maker Media!

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