On Sunday, January 12, Native actors turned up at the Casting Society of America's casting call.
Participating locations included Los Angeles, New York, Albuquerque, Portland, Chicago, Norman, Oklahoma and Montreal.
According to the Casting Society of America (CSA) press announcement, “CSA members across the globe will open their offices to union and non-union Native American and Indigenous Actors. Artists who are professionally trained, as well as those actively pursuing professional careers as performers are welcome to attend. Artists will be given an opportunity to perform a prepared scene of their choice in front of a panel of CSA casting directors offering actors the opportunity to interact with casting directors who are looking to expand their knowledge and understanding of underrepresented and undiscovered talent in a professional casting environment.”
Interested applicants can still submit audition self-tapes. To submit a self-tape send an email inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indian Country Today's video correspondent Jonathan Sims caught up with Dine' actor Loren Anthony as well as other interested actors to document the experience.
Here is a transcription of the video:
Voiceover: Native people across North America filled audition offices in hopes of breaking into the film industry. The Screen Actors Guild or better known as SAG, partnered with the Casting Society of America to help foster better inclusion and diversity in the major motion picture industry.
Musician and longtime Dine’ community advocate Loren Anthony has been a working actor with over 26 credits to his name thus far. Today he also tossed his hat into the open call ring.
Loren Anthony: “It’s an effort by the SAG union along with the CSA, which stands for the Casting Society of America to make an extra effort to uphold an increase in Native American talent and First Nations talent all across the U.S. and really bring up the game, the level, the openness of having more people come into this industry.
Voiceover: Tomafa Ticeahkie is fresh out of high school and looking to pursue her dream in the film industry. We also found her at the open call.
Tomafa Ticeahkie: “I'm Tomafa Ticeahkie, I'm from Farmington New Mexico. I really like making videos and watching movies, I want to be a director when I grow up. I'm glad that CSA is getting Native American people, It's good for Native Americans to be in every field. Representation today matters and in modern media television and movies, you don’t see a lot of Native people, like growing up I didn’t see a lot of Natives being portrayed in a positive light like anywhere. So I feel like it's good to start to putting that out there.
Voiceover: Jicarilla Apache Artist Alexander Julian found the call posting online and also decided to give acting a try.
Alexander Julian: “I signed up for this and showed up here, that's really the short story of how it goes. I'm glad the CSA is reaching out, there is a lot of untapped talent in the Indigenous community and they are giving us an opportunity, and I really like that. Thank You.”
Loren Anthony: “So being an individual that’s in film that happens to be Native American; and see, just right here I used those words in that context, instead of saying Native actor -- I happen to be an actor that is Native American. I wanna bring that to light that we are people first; then talents. But now you look at my credits, there are over 25 films that I’ve been a part of since then. I would like to give anybody out there young or young at heart That wants to pursue this role, this position, this dream of being in film, don’t give up. Do not give up. No matter what people say to you or no matter what your voices say to you in your head. Push for it if your heart calls out to do this, do it.
Voiceover: Reporting for Indian Country Today, I'm Jonathan Sims.
Vincent Schilling contributed to this report.