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Fox Diversity premieres 'Urban Pow Wow' documentary

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - FOX Entertainment Group has kept their promise to the American Indian community by opening the doors to the entertainment industry. Fox Diversity Development pulled out all the stops for a screening of the student documentary feature: "Urban Pow Wow."

This student-filmed production is the first project released by InterTribal Entertainment, an entertainment and multimedia job-training program for American Indians administered by the Southern California Indian Center, Inc. (SCIC). Before the screening of "Urban Pow Wow," Fox unveiled a five-minute video presentation on their ground-breaking American Indian Summer Institute, a one-week intensive seminar for American Indian college students that goes behind the scenes of Hollywood and gives Indian youth a once-in-a-lifetime introduction to the workings of the entertainment industry.

The evening at FOX began with an early VIP dinner. Tribal dignitaries attending included Tribal Chairman Ray Torres of Torres Martinez Band of Desert Cahuilla, Tribal Chairman Maurice Lyons of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Vice Chairman Barbara Gonzales Lyons of the Agua Caliente Band of Mission Indians. From Arizona, the Navajo Nation was represented by Leland Leonard, executive director of the Phoenix Indian Center and Ron Interpreter, executive director of the Affiliated Tribes in Arizona.

Mitsy Wilson and Gerald Alcantar from FOX diversity welcomed more than 100 people at the general reception and thanked everyone for helping diversity grow through supporting Indian student filmmakers. SCIC Executive Director Paula Starr thanked Chairman Ray Torres for the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF contract that created InterTribal Entertainment's high school program. Chairman Torres spoke on behalf of his Indian high school students who were part of the 2003 spring class and presented Andrew Tidwell, Ashley and Vanessa Sosa with certificate diplomas.

Also in attendance was Morgan Otis, president of the California's Tribal College D-Q University, Professor Duane Champagne from UCLA and Jaleesa Hazzard, executive director of Workplace Hollywood that helps minorities find job placement in the entertainment industry. Tom Bee from SOAR records was in attendance alongside Mark Reed, chairman of the Native American Caucus for the Screen Actors Guild.

The "Urban Pow Wow" documentary covers three days of the largest gathering of American Indians on the West Coast during the 34th annual Southern California Indian Center Pow wow (2002) at the Orange County Fairgrounds in California. The film begins with Paula Starr talking about what this pow wow means to her in terms of tradition and culture. It features artist vendors, fry bread booths, singing, drumming and dance contests that range from the tiny tots to the golden ages. It also honors veterans and those who help put on the pow wow, including the master of ceremonies, arena director, head judge, SCIC staff and the 500 volunteers who lend a hand throughout the weekend. More than 25 hours of footage was taped by the class participants and ITE instructors Chuck Banner and Ben Caswell produced and edited the finished project.

The Fox American Indian Summer Institute video opens with Tom Bee encouraging participants to "never let your dreams die." Fox Diversity wants all minorities to hear that message and has opened a door for American Indian student filmmakers and young professionals who are willing to walk through.

If you want more information on "Urban Pow Wow" or want to purchase the video, visit www.Indiancenter.tv and go to www.indiancenter.org for information on other SCIC programs and services. You can visit Fox Diversity at www.fox.com/diversity.