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News Release

Native American Media Alliance

The Native American Media Alliance announced today they have selected 10 participants for the 2nd Annual Native American Unscripted Workshop, a talent development program that aims to boost the careers of Native American filmmakers, journalists and media artists in the field of unscripted film and television.

“This program has already provided incredible opportunities for Native American storytellers in non-fiction media.” stated Ian Skorodin (Choctaw), Director of Strategy; Native American Media Alliance. “Several fellows from our first year have been able to develop, produce and distribute their unscripted projects to mainstream outlets.”

The participants will take part in a five-day intensive that will have them meet with executives from numerous networks and studios as well as experienced unscripted producers. The workshop will consist of group discussions and creative seminars that will culminate in a pitch panel at the conclusion of the workshop. Each selected participant will pitch a panel of creative executives and producers to spotlight their respective projects and unique voices.

The five-day total immersion workshop will be mentored and guided by veteran producers in non-fiction television. The Native American Unscripted Workshop was created to expand the amount of Native Americans working behind the camera, as a way to increase fair and accurate portrayals of Native Americans in media.

The Native American Media Alliance (NAMA) advocates for Native American representation in the entertainment industry. This initiative functions as a resource for industry personnel to work with Native Americans who have an authentic voice for film, television and new media. The Native American Media Alliance is an initiative of the Barcid Foundation; a non-profit organization that focuses on multimedia programming in indigenous communities.

For more information, visit www.nama.media.

Pictured: The selected Fellows of the 2022 Native American Unscripted Workshop. Sponsored by CNN, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cherokee Nation Film Office, YAHOO and A+E Networks.

Pictured: The selected Fellows of the 2022 Native American Unscripted Workshop. Sponsored by CNN, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cherokee Nation Film Office, YAHOO and A+E Networks.

The 10 selected Fellows:

Annette Arkeketa

Annette Arkeketa is an enrolled member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma and is also Muscogee Creek. Arkeketa is founder of Hokte Productions, an independent film and video production company where she is the producer, writer, director, videographer, photographer, and editor. She is currently Co-producing Indigenous Cuisine with Co-producer Tvli Jacob. Her productions include Iron Horse. A story of the Oklahoma Indian Bikers, an inter-tribal motorcycle group. Chief George, a PBS short documentary about George Akeen (Cheyenne/Wichita) and his historic peacekeeping mission to Jerusalem. PAHDOPONY: See How Deep The Water Is. A biography of Comanche Artist Juanita Pahdopony’s life as an artist, educator and activist. MUH-DU ‘KEE: Put Them Back, a documentary that follows Comanche Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Jimmy Arterberry (Comanche), through the process of repatriating Comanche human remains and artifacts. INTRINSIC SPIRIT: The Artway of Jimmy Pena, a biography of native Corpus Christi artist Jimmy Pena. Arkeketa holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma; a Master of Arts (MA) in Interdisciplinary Studies in English, TV-Film Communications and Marketing, from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi University; and Associate in Arts (AA) in Digital Cinema Production, Oklahoma City Community College. 

Wenona Bladenegro

Wenona Benally Baldenegro is a practicing attorney who moonlights as a producer for an online tv show, local tribal radio show and tv docuseries. Wenona is a former Arizona House of Representative. During her day job, she serves as the Assistant Attorney General for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Tucson, Arizona. Wenona holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School and a Master in Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Wenona was born and raised on the Navajo reservation. She grew up in Kayenta, Arizona. She is a member of the Navajo Nation.

Sal Baldenegro

Sal’s life has been creatively informed by the unique culture of the Southwestern U.S., and as a Chicano/Yaqui writer, his work often includes Indigenous characters and themes. From a young age, his parents taught him to be socially conscious, and in addition to writing and filmmaking, Sal is a lifelong social activist. Sal's personal experience gives life to his writing, and he sets out to create high-quality entertainment that often includes thought-provoking stories. Sal is a graduate of the University of Arizona's School of Theatre, Film, and Television. In addition to “Nourish,” Sal is developing a narrative feature film, inspired by Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” “Apache Street” is a conspiracy thriller about a woman who sets out to save her neighborhood from gentrification, and, in the process, uncovers more than she ever imagined.

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Justin Deegan

Justin Deegan is an award winning filmmaker and a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation. Justin, began his career as a theatre actor in Fargo, North Dakota. However, he changed his path when he realized that the majority of the film written and produced were by Non-Native American filmmakers. That was the defining moment he decided to start making indigenous made films. Mr. Deegan, dove in head first and began teaching himself every aspect about the business of filmmaking. Since his early introduction. Justin, has been writing, producing, directing and editing several projects since 2013. Mr. Deegan is currently a season two reciprocity project fellow with Nia Tero based out of Seattle, Washington.

Tvli Jacob

Tvli Jacob ain’t no movie man, but he’s seen a lot of movies, thus giving him the audacity to make movies himself. Tvli has worked motion picture projects. He has even been known to produce, direct, and writes a few of them himself. He loves working on productions with Native American Indian, Indigenous and First Nations communities. For those who are taking score, he is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Basically, he’s a Chahta kid. Besides movies he is also responsible for managing all aspects of the documentary film and multi-media components for the Center for Indigenous Health and Research Policy (CIHRP). He loves stories but doesn’t collect them. Instead, he prefers that stories collect him, be a part of him, flow through the universe and exist as it wishes to be. People in his family walked the Trail of Tears, resisted oppression, preserved the Choctaw language and fought for tribal rights and sovereignty. Tvli has a daughter, Nuseka, who is a philosopher, free-thinker, creator, artist and the reason he exists — which is a lot for child to handle. She has already made her family proud, and continues to do so.

Ivan MacDonald

Ivan MacDonald is an Emmy-winning filmmaker. He is a member of the Blackfeet tribe and currently resides in Montana. He has produced and directed for work ESPN and Showtime. His most recent producing project Blackfeet Boxing Not Invisible premiered on ESPN’s 30 for 30 program and won Best Documentary Short at the 2021 Emmy Sports Awards. He is an inaugural fellow with the Illuminative and Netflix Producers Program and is an alumnus of Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab. With his sister Ivy, he is directing his first feature-length documentary titled When They Were Here. When They Were Here focuses on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls’ crisis on their home reservation and is told through the lens of their family history. They have received support from ITVS, Vision Maker Media, and PBS for their work.

Ashley Salaz

Ashley Salaz is a Coharie filmmaker living in Oakland, California, and is currently working as a freelance producer on digital and commercial ads for clients all over the Bay Area. Ashley attended the University of Southern California and has written and shot several short films since graduating. In 2010, she was awarded one of ten spots in the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s TV Writers Program. Little River is her directorial debut of a feature-length documentary- a story about reconnecting to her Native American culture. Her main career goal is to work full-time as a filmmaker and create job opportunities for other women of color in the film industry.

Ruth-Ann Thorn

Ruth-Ann Thorn is a pioneer Native businesswoman and creator. An enrolled tribal member of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians. She brings a voice to Native American culture. Ruth-Ann founded and is still at the helm of EC Galleries (www.ecgallery.com), today. Over 26-years, she had notable gallery locations in San Diego (Gaslamp, Sea Port Village, Fashion Valley, La Jolla and Solana Beach), Laguna Beach, Las Vegas, Beverly Hills and Colorado. Ruth-Ann has a business knack of bringing new artists to market and international acclaim. She established a national art magazine (held the position of editor and chief) “Off the Easel”. Her passion for story telling inspired her to produce a 13 episode series “Art of the City” where she was host/producer and has been broadcasted on “First Nations Experience” Network (FNX) since 2020. With a goal to bring Native art to the forefront of the world, she began filming a new series “This is Indian Country” a travel show about Native creators. Ruth-Ann is a driving force behind putting Native American culture front and center both locally and nationally. Her goal is to show the public that Native/indigenous people are still here, resilient, diversely talented and are not a relic of the past.

Rahe-Wanitanama

Rahe-Wanitanama is an Indigenous-Caribbean artist-filmmaker based in Bimini (Florida) and Yamayeka/Iamaica (Jamaica), of mixed Yamaye Taíno and Maroon descent. Her work spans investigative-documentary and experimental works, especially focused on language-culture activism of Western Jamaica. Shown at Tribeca Film Center, Anthology Film Archives, DCTV and the Smithsonian. Featured in Folklife Magazine, TODAY, B&H Explora, and New Orleans Film Society Journal. Affiliation: Dolphin Head, Hanover, Jamaica. Current projects include Arihuna (Foreigner), an unscripted series which centers around her matrilineal family connections in Dolphin Head, created with support from Oolite Arts, Miami Film Festival and a Third Horizon Fellowship.

Jim Warne

Educator-Advocate-Filmmaker Jim Warne is a member of the Oglala Lakota. Jim earned a BS from Arizona State University and a MS from San Diego State University. Jim created continuing Education programs at SDSU Interwork Institute from 1993-2015. He has written over 50 million in grants and contracts for universities and Tribal Nations. Currently, Jim is the Community Engagement Director at University of South Dakota Center for Disabilities, Oyáte Circle Sanford School of Medicine. Jim wrote several grants for USD establishing the Oyáte Circle, a Native Disability Center. Jim is President of Warrior Society Development, LLC. He consults for various government agencies, organizations, Tribal Nations, academia including the Arizona College of Medicine Sonoran Native Center. Jim is a Motivational Speaker, experience includes: Congressional Testimonies, Workforce Inclusion, Film Production, Actor/Stuntman, Professional Football, Youth Camps, Organizational Development including Higher Ed Administration. Jim’s WSD Productions Film Division produced “7th Generation” an Award- Winning Documentary. His Emmy nominated short film, “Oyáte un Itówapi - Pictures of my People” was featured on Fox NFL Pregame Show, Thanksgiving 2020 and FOX “Voices” on MLK Day 2021. His new production is “Remember the Children” (2022).

For more information, visit www.nama.media.

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