Drowned Land


Winding its way through southeastern Oklahoma, deep in the Choctaw Nation, the Kiamichi River is a bastion of eco-diversity. Much to the dismay of communities along the river, the state of Oklahoma recently signed an agreement to dam and divert 85% of its remaining water. This isn’t a first for the Kiamichi and its tributaries, already twice-dammed to create reservoirs. One, Sardis Lake, is named after the town that was flooded by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1980. All that is left of Sardis is the cemetery, now an island in the middle of the lake.

: 57 Minutes

Release: TBD

Expiration: TBD

Distributor: TBD

Rights: TBD


COLLEEN THURSTON is an award-winning media producer and documentary filmmaker from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and teaches documentary studies and film production. As an Indigenous non-fiction storyteller, her films tend to explore the relationships between humans and the natural world and focus on Native stories and perspectives. She holds an MFA from Montana State University’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, where she also earned a graduate certificate in American Indian Studies. Her BA in Media Arts and Anthropology is from the University of Arizona. Colleen has worked for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Channel and has produced and crewed documentaries for museums, public television stations and federal and tribal organizations. Her work has been supported by ITVS, Vision Maker Media, Firelight Media, Nia Tero, Southern Foodways Alliance and the Redford Center. Currently the Co-Director of the Fayetteville Film Festival, Colleen also curates film and storytelling events, with an emphasis on Indigenous programming. Colleen is a 2019-2021 Firelight Media Documentary Lab Fellow, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and a seventh generation Oklahoman.

Recommended For You

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.


Program Coordinator

(Hataža Mani Winga)​

"Cinema Aficionado"

Role: Jordana is excited to engage with different Native/Indigenous communities. Her passion for working with youth will help develop the Native Youth Media Project. She will also assist with the Creative Shorts Fellowship (CSF) to help organize deliverables for filmmakers.