Eleven aspiring filmmakers of indigenous heritage each received a $10,000 grant and two years’ mentoring from an established Hollywood producer in the first such round of awards by the Indigenous Film Circle, which opened the screenwriting program last year to native cultures across the globe.
Org came to Park City to announce the scholarship winners — including the attending Guatemalan poet Rosa Chavez (of Maya K’iche’ origin) — at a luncheon ceremony hosted by Bird Runningwater, director of the Sundance Native American and Indigenous Program.
The Indigenous Film Circle has high hopes that two or three commercially viable projects will emerge from the program’s first round of grants, and is already seeking funds for the second round of $10,000 grants in two years.
“That kind of money can go a long way in a place like Bolivia,” said Donald Ranvaud, an org fellow and producer. Ranvaud is advising on Chavez’s “”The Spirit of the Stones,” as well as Alvaro Sarmiento Pagan’s “Now.”
Funded largely by Scandinavian governments, the IFCircle and its mentors will spend the next two years reviewing and advising on the 11 proejcts to ensure they develop into screen-ready scripts.
Other winners include: Philipp Abryutin (Chukchi/Russian Federation) “Sunrise Diary”; Tvli Jacob and Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan (Choctaw/USA) “Trickster”; Darlene Johnson (Dunghutti/Australia) “Baru”; Sara Magrethe Oskal (Sámi/Norway) – “Let’s Get Married”; Edgar Noe Sajcabun Mux (Maya/Guatemala) “The Time in the Mountains”; Silja Somby (Sami/Norway) “Keeper of the Drum”; Elle-Maija Tailfeathers (Sami and Blackfoot/Norway and Canada) “Untitled”; John Erling Utsi (Sami/Sweden) “Mr. No-one”; and Orgun Wagua (Kuna/Panama) “The Return of the Herons.”