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Annual Sundance Institute Intensive for Indigenous Artists Held August 3-7, 2020

16/09/2020

LOS ANGELES - Six Indigenous filmmakers participated in the 2020 Sundance Institute Indigenous Intensive held August 3-7, redesigned digitally on Sundance Co//ab . The Intensive focused on the advancement of storytellers' projects under the guidance of experienced Creative Advisors and Sundance Institute's Indigenous Program. The Intensive is presented by WarnerMedia.

We're excited to create a new support model in our program to work more deeply with a new generation of artists on their Feature Film and Episodic projects, said Director N. Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache). We hope to expand our community's work in these forms and beyond while continuing to nurture their exceptional and distinct voices.

Feature Fellows: Erin Lau (Kanaka Maoli), Elle-Ma ija Tailfeathers (Blackfoot/Sa mi) and Erica Tremblay (Seneca-Cayuga/Wyandotte Nations). Episodic Fellows: Jonny Cournoyer (Rosebud Sioux-Sicangu Lakota), Blake Pickens (Chickasaw Nation) and Shaandiin Tome (Dine Nation). Creative Advisors: Michelle Latimer (M tis/Algonquin), Sally Riley (Wiradjuri Nation), Heather Rae, Effie Brown, Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muscogee Creek) and Sierra Ornales (Dine Nation).

Sundance Institute's Indigenous Program

The Indigenous Program champions Indigenous independent storytelling artists through residency Labs, Fellowships, public programming, and a year-round continuum of creative, financial, and tactical support. The Program conducts outreach and education to identify a new generation of Indigenous voices, connecting them with opportunities to develop their storytelling projects, and bringing them and their work back to Indigenous lands. At its core, the Program seeks to inspire self-determination among Indigenous filmmakers and communities by centering Indigenous people in telling their own stories.

The Sundance Institute Indigenous Program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Oneida Indian Nation, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Nia Tero Foundation, SAGindie, Indigenous Screen Office, New Zealand Film Commission, Jenifer and Jeffrey Westphal, Indigenous Media Initiatives, Felix Culpa, Sarah Luther, Susan Shilliday, and an anonymous donor.

Sundance Institute

In 1981, Robert Redford founded Sundance Institute to foster independence and provide a safe harbor for risk-taking new voices. In the organizations inaugural year, 15 emerging filmmakers were invited to Sundance Resort in the mountains of Utah to develop their original independent projects with mentorship from leading writers, directors, and actors.

Sundance Institute has continually evolved as an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that discovers and supports independent artists from the U.S. and around the world, and introduces audiences to their new work. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress.

Through its signature labs, granting, and mentorship, the Institute provides and preserves the space for independent artists to explore their stories free from daily distraction, and to take risks free from commercial and political pressures. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences with artists, igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling.

Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On the Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Wont You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams, and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Biographies, Feature Fellows:

Erin Lau (Kanaka Maoli)

Raised in the quiet valley of Kahalu'u on O'ahu, Native Hawaiian filmmaker Erin Lau moved to Los Angeles after receiving a full-ride merit scholarship from Chapman University, where she completed her MFA in Directing. During her education, she was selected as a Sundance Native Lab fellow for her film The Moon and The Night. As a result of the film's success, Erin signed with UTA and LINK Entertainment. She then shifted her attention to episodic content and participated in Powderkeg's Break The Room writers room for the Quibi show Last Resort. Most recently, she was shortlisted for the 2020 HBO Directors program. Now, by day, Erin works as a Senior Producer-Director for digital media company, Jubilee Media, creating content that has garnered millions of views, as well as sponsored content for brands including SK-II, Kiwi Botanicals, and Always. By night, she is developing projects inspired by her family, heritage, and the socio-economic issues that plague Pacific Islander communities.

Project: Lewalana

After undergoing a traumatic experience, a Native Hawaiian real estate agent moves her family into a luxury penthouse for a fresh start, only to be confronted by an ominous force that feeds off their greed and pain.

Elle-Ma ija Tailfeathers (Blackfoot, Sa mi)

Elle-Ma ija Tailfeathers is a writer, director, producer and actor. She is a member of the Kainai First Nation (Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy) as well as Sa mi from Norway. She was named the 2018 Sundance Film Institute's Merata Mita Film Fellow and is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Lab, and the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Lab. She co-wrote, co-directed, and acted in the narrative feature The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open with Kathleen Hepburn, which premiered a
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