Indigenize The Plate


As extraction, water displacement, and climate change impact food sustainability in indigenous communities, this is having a direct impact on cultural sustainability.

A Diné woman travels from the Navajo Nation to a Quechuan community in Peru that has developed a way to address this challenge in their own region.

The Santa Cruz lodge is a community-owned hospitality space which doubles as a cultural resource center. The business-side supports the cultivation, preparation, and serving of traditional cuisine as well as being made available as a space for ceremonial practices. In the end the weary traveler from the heart of New Mexico finds parallels between her peoples and the Quechuans and is inspired to return home with the wisdom and the knowledge she has gained from the journey.

: 57 Minutes

Release: October 20, 2023

Expiration: October 19, 2027

Distributor: APT

Rights: Unlimited releases over four (4) years beginning 10/20/2023; SCH/1YR (for K‐12); and

non‐commercial cable rights.



NATALIE BENALLY is a dance artist, filmmaker, writer, actor and community/language advocate from the Navajo Nation. She has directed and choreographed numerous theater productions. Likewise, Benally has also become involved in film and television productions, both as crew and in creative direction. She is the Co-Founder & Creative Director of Tse'Nato', a mixed media storytelling company to amplify Indigenous voices and representation. She is the recipient of the Senator John Pinto Native American Filmmakers Fund Grant, the First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital Fellowship, the VisionMaker Public Media Fund and many more awards. Of note, Benally has performed the lead role of Dory in the Navajo dubbed version of Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo. She also appeared in AMC's series Dark Winds and recently made her TV debut as a lead role in the new series "ACCUSED" on FOX/HULU.


ERNIE ZAHN is a cinematographer turned producer with 15 years of professional experience but his passion started in his single digit years with a Super 8 camera, creating backyard movies. Since then Ernie has moved through various forms of media/branding/marketing/film taking on roles such as writing, acting, directing, editing, and finally landing on producing. Through this role Ernie has developed a keen indie-film-focused approach to projects, wearing various hats. He now dedicates his time to creating lower budget projects that are heavily story and character driven as well as projects that are focused on driving impact in communities. This passion has lead him to founding his own film company, Triello Storytelling Company. Ernie likens himself a conductor of an orchestra. He loves and can play any instrument but he works with masters to compose the entire band. Ernie leverages this skillset to create projects that impact-driven and counter narrative. He also recently directed his first full length documentary "Indigenize The Plate" which takes a look at the intersectionality that exists between cultural and food sustainability.

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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.