N. Bird Runningwater, director, Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program
N. Bird Runningwater belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Tribes, and was raised on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. Since 2001 he has guided the Sundance Institute’s commitment to Indigenous filmmakers and has nurtured a new generation of filmmakers whose films have put Indigenous cinema into the global marketplace. Based in Los Angeles, California, Runningwater serves as the director of the Institute’s Indigenous Program and co-leads the Institute’s Outreach and Inclusion work across all programs. Under Runningwater’s tenure 140 Indigenous filmmakers have been supported through Labs, Grants, Mentorships and Fellowships. More than 110 films written, directed and produced by Indigenous filmmakers have been curated by Runningwater to premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and over the past 10 years alone Sundance Institute has welcomed nearly 90 different Indigenous tribes and nations from around the world into its programs while building a global Indigenous film community. In Time Magazine’s 2019 Optimist Issue Runningwater was listed among “12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists.” Runningwater was invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in 2019.