Vision Maker Media Announces 2014-2015 Public Media Content Fund Awards 
Vision Maker Media is pleased to announce support for thirteen new projects for production, new media, and acquisition. Eleven producers and Public Television stations were selected for funding and two for acquisition for their documentaries by and about Native Americans and Alaska Natives.


Vision Maker Media Filmmakers Attend the National Native Media Conference
Native Filmmakers at the 2014 National Native Media Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., July 10-13, 2014. Pictured from left to right: Dan Golding (Quechan), Gary Robinson (Choctaw/Cherokee), Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), Rebekka Schlichting (Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), Princella Parker (Omaha), Georgiana Lee (Navajo), and Pierre Barrera (Klamath/Lakota)
Recently, a group of filmmakers who have just been awarded funds from Vision Maker Media came to Santa Clara, Calif., to attend and present workshops on film production, new media, contracts and more to share knowledge with one another and to help them as they work to produce documentaries for distribution through public television. The workshops took place both before and during the National Native Media Conference (NNMC), which Vision Maker Media co-hosted along with Native Public Media and the Native American Journalist Association.

We asked the people that attended to share their thoughts on the experience. Read their blogs.

See photos from the NNMC on Facebook or Pinterest.

Sovereign Bodies Blog 
by Nikke Alex (Navajo)
We, as Native Peoples, do not have forums to talk about sex, sexuality, healthy relationships and reproductive justice issues, because these topics are taboo in most Native communities.


Read More…


Video Profile of Amanda Takes War Bonnet
Part of a Series About Reproductive Rights
Amanda Takes War Bonnet (Lakota) is the former managing editor of Indian Country Today, an award-winning weekly national news source for Native Americans in the United States, where she worked for fourteen years. She currently serves as public education specialist for Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, a coalition of twenty-three organizations from seven states within the northern plains with the mission of ending domestic and sexual violence.

Visit the Site…


Indie Alaska’s I am an Aurora Hunter is part of the PBS Online Film Festival – one of many short films from around the country produced by public broadcasters and independent film producers such as Independent Lens. We want you to watch, vote, and share online. Voting ends on July 31st. Don’t miss these films guaranteed to amaze and inspire!
With funding from theCorporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Vision Maker Media’s Public Media Content Fund awards support to projects with a Native American theme and significant Native involvement that ultimately benefits the entire public media community.

Since 1990, filmmakers have been invited to submit proposals in various stages of their film–from research & development, to production, post-production/completion, and outreach.

All proposals are reviewed by a group of public television professionals, station programmers, independent filmmakers, educators, and executives from indigenous organizations.

“The goal of the Public Media Content Fund is to increase the diversity of voices available to PBS viewers,” said
Shirley K. Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), executive director of Vision Maker Media.

The final slate of documentaries represents Native voices and stories from across the United States including California, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Washington,

and a couple documentaries will span coast-to-coast.

Funding was awarded as 18.2% New Media; 81.8% production, post-production, and completion; and an additional two projects selected for acquisition. Production provides funding for producers to film, record, and produce their documentaries.

Post-production funding allows for completion of documentaries already-in-progress. New Media provides for programs with primary distribution over the Internet such as vignettes and webisodes, as well as creation of community engagement materials. Acquisitions are provocative and engaging completed programs from independent or Public Television producers acquired by Vision Maker Media for broadcast.

In alphabetical order, the funded projects are:


Boarding School StoriesJonathon Skurnik

New Media

Board School Stories is an interactive new media website built around videotaped oral histories that will educate users about the history of the American Indian boarding school system–a policy of forced assimilation imposed on more than 100,000 Native American children between 1879 and 1975.


Injunuity 2Adrian Baker (Hopi)


Injunuity 2 is a half-hour documentary made-up of nine short films using a mix of animation, music, and real Native voices. Together, the pieces create a thought-provoking collage of reflections on modern America from a contemporary Native perspective. (

Lake of Betrayal: The Story of Kinzua DamPaul Lamont, Scott Sackett


When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to take their land to build Kinzua Dam, the Seneca people stand up to the government and prevailing political forces of the 1950s and 60s to save their culture, their sovereignty, and their way of life to preserve their future.


MankillerValerie Red-Horse (Cherokee), Gale Anne Hurd


Mankiller explores the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation who led her people in building one of the strongest Indian Tribes in America. More than a biography, the program delivers an empowering message.


Metal RoadSarah Del Seronde (Navajo), Leighton C. Peterson


For decades, thousands of Navajos worked the railroads, maintaining the trans-continental network. Metal Road explores the dynamics of livelihood, family, and the railroads through the lens of a Navajo trackman.


Navajo Math CirclesGeorge Csicsery


Navajo Math Circles documents the meeting of two worlds where some of the country’s most accomplished mathematicians and math educators work with children and teachers in the underserved, largely rural Navajo educational system.


Neon BuffaloPierre Barrera (Klamath/Lakota), Jeff Franken,
Daniel Montano


Neon Buffalo is a documentary film exploring the history of Indian gaming from the first bingo halls to today’s destination resorts. The film delves deeper into Indian Gaming than slot machines and black jack tables. (


Our Fires Still BurnAudrey Geyer


Our Fires Still Burn suggests how Native Americans can address the serious economic and social issues that affect them while respecting and understanding their heritage and what was done to them by European settlers and the United States government. The stories shared are fresh, uplifting, powerful, startling, despairing, and inspiring. (


Red Power EnergyLarry Pourier (Oglala Lakota), Lisa D. Olken,
Rocky Mountain PBS


Red Power Energy is the first-ever, trans-media film project (TV, radio, web-exclusive videos, print articles, photos, and timelines) that explores the promises and perils of fossil fuel and renewable energy production on 14 American Indian reservations in a five state region–Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Medicine Woman

Princella Parker (Omaha), Christine Lesiak, NET Television


Medicine Woman is about healing and identity in the lives of Native women past and present. It weaves together the stories of the first Native American doctor, a woman born seven generations ago, and present-day Native healers.


The Blackfeet FloodBrooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish), Ben Shors

New Media

The media ignored the 29 victims of the worst natural disaster in Montana history, the 1964 flood on the Blackfeet Reservation.The Blackfeet Flood gives voice to the survivors to tell their stories through a mobile app and website that present a series of place-based short films, text, historic documents, and images. (


Tribal JusticeAnne Makepeace, Ruth B. Cowan


Tribal Justice is a one-hour documentary about the innovative work of two tribal judges, both remarkable women leaders who are using traditional forms of restorative justice to help heal their communities. (


Watchers of the NorthDavid Finch, Maureen Marovitch


Watchers of the North is an action-packed, six-part documentary adventure series following the training, patrols, and search & rescue missions of Canadian Rangers in two Nunavut communities. (


Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity
for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos.
All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media–to be the next generation of storytellers.
Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit

 Join us in 7 days for the third annual PBS Online Film Festival. This year’s festival features 25 short films from various station and producing partners. Stream the videos anytime from June 16 to July 31, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite videos.

The PBS Online Film Festival showcases diverse films fromIndependent Lens and POV, as well as collaborations with public television producers, including theCenter for Asian American Media,Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB),National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC)Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), and Vision Maker Media.

The festival highlights powerful stories from filmmakers across the country, while also providing an opportunity for producers to reach and engage a digitally-savvy audience. In its first two years, the festival garnered more than one million video streams and more than 50,000 votes.

This year’s selection features several locally produced short films from a variety of local PBS stations, including: Alaska Public MediaArkansas Educational Television Network (AETN)CET/ThinkTV (Cincinnati/Dayton),KLRU (Austin, TX)KQED (San Francisco)Louisiana Public Broadcasting,Vermont PBSWisconsin Media Lab and WCVE (Richmond, VA).

“PBS and member stations are committed to experimenting with new platforms to reach diverse audiences with high-quality and engaging content,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital. “PBS is the home for independent film, both online and on-air, and we’re proud that the Online Film Festival has become an annual celebration of unique films representing a diverse array of voices and viewpoints.”

The films will be available for streaming across all digital platforms, including, AppleTV, Roku, YouTube and PBS social media channels. Viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite film to win the “People’s Choice” award. For updates on the festival, follow #PBSolff on Twitter.