Join us for the fourth annual Webby Award-nominated PBS Online Film Festival. This year’s Festival features 25 short-form independent films from various station and producing partners.

Vision Maker Media is pleased to offer Jeffrey Palmer’s uplifting short film, Isabelle’s Garden–a story of a community coming together in reciprocity, through the hopes and dreams of a young, Choctaw girl and her garden. The short film was supported and launched through the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge which aims to showcase stories that communicate how we can support one another to end poverty and hunger once and for all.

Stream the videos anytime from June 15 to July 17, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite videos, including Isabelle’s Garden. This week, ROKU users have an exclusive preview of the PBS Online Film Festival via the PBS ROKU app ( Beginning June 15, the Festival will be available via PBS digital platforms including PBS.orgYouTube, and PBS social media channels.

The PBS Online Film Festival showcases diverse films from the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), POV, StoryCorps, and Vision Maker Media, as well as PBS local member stations including Alaska Public Media, CET/ThinkTV (Cincinnati/Dayton), KLRU (Austin, Texas), KQED (San Francisco, California), Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Twin Cities Public Television, UNC-TV (North Carolina), and Vermont PBS. Promotional partners for the PBS Online Film Festival include ITVS and World Channel.

The Festival showcases powerful and engaging stories from filmmakers across the country, while also providing an opportunity for producers to reach and engage a digitally-savvy audience. The Festival has become a popular, annual online event–attracting more than 350,000 streams and 50,000 votes cast for the winner last year.

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.

“PBS prides itself as the home for independent film, whether on-air or online,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital. “With the Online Film Festival, PBS and its member stations have the opportunity to bring unique, high-quality independent film to a highly engaged, digitally savvy audience.”

About the Filmmaker: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa)
Jeffrey Palmer felt that this vignette, Isabelle’s Garden, about a Choctaw girl would not just shed light on conditions in the area, but also provide some insight; old traditions, it turns out, can help us create a better present and future.

The 1A Coastal Conference Basketball Tournament is one of the biggest events in the YK Delta. Students from the Lower Kuskokwim School Distrit capture that excitement as part of their career training.

Students from all over the YK Delta produced two videos about the 2015 Cama-i Dance Festival. The intensive course is aimed at training and preparing students for careers in media and information technologies.

The 2015 Cama-i Dance Festival theme was “A Festival for Hope and Healing”. LKSD eJournalism examine what that means for them.

Christian Parrish, A.K.A. SupaMan, performed in this year’s Cama-i Dance Festival. The Crow Nation hip-hop artist raps in positive words encouraging children and teens to be better people.

The Medicine Game

by Mike Martz on March 10, 2015

Lincoln, Neb:  Tucked away in central New York State is the Onondaga Nation, a sovereign Native American community known to produce some of the top lacrosse players in the world. Yet, the fear of leaving their community, substance abuse, and poverty have kept far too many of these players from venturing off the “Rez” and into collegiate or professional ranks.

Enter the Thompson brothers–Jerome “Hiana” and Jeremy–who are driven by a single goal of beating the odds against them and playing lacrosse for national powerhouse Syracuse University. During the brothers’ freshman and junior years of high school, they led their school’s lacrosse team to state championships. Based on this success, many people, including the film’s director/producer Lukas Korver, assumed they would compete for the state championship again.

“Lacrosse is more than just a game–it’s a way of life, it’s a heritage. It’s being Iroquois. It’s being Native American. It’s a part of their culture, their religion, who they are,” Korver said.

During the playoffs of their senior year, the undeniably close brothers had a shockingly out-of-character fight in the school parking lot, leaving Hiana hospitalized and unable to play lacrosse during his recovery from a broken jaw. Without Hiana on the field in the school’s next playoff game, Jeremy’s play suffered. The team lost, ending their chances at a third state championship. It would take two years before the brothers’ relationship healed to what it had been.

Hiana and Jeremy’s father, Jerome “Ji” Thompson commented, “They started school late and they’ve come from so far behind to catch up and do as well as they’re doing now. And, just to get that degree to show everybody, because I know there are people out there that actually know them that don’t think they can do it.”

“A lot of people say that it’s bad around here. But myself, I don’t know. I think it’s just like any other child growing up anywhere else,” said Jeremy.

With their now unfulfilled dream of winning a third state championship, the brothers heavily pursued their ongoing, shared vision of playing lacrosse for Syracuse University. Athletically, the brothers were standouts, but academically, they struggled. The obstacles in their way were frequent and daunting, but their love for the game, each other, and their family’s unyielding determination, helped propel these youth against the odds.

Ji, who doesn’t want his sons to be ironworkers like himself and generations before, explained, “The greatest gift you can give your children is your time. I taught my boys to respect the game–the game of lacrosse. Respect means to play as hard as you can, you know. Go out there and give it everything you can because you’re playing for the Creator.”

“I titled the film The Medicine Game because the game has helped not only the Thompsons, but many families and communities to stay healthy both physically and mentally, to bond with one another, and to learn many powerful life lessons,” said Korver.

To watch the film’s trailer, visit The Medicine Game is distributed by American Public Television (APT) and will be available to Public Television stations nationwide Tuesday, April 28, 2015. For broadcast information in your area, please visit

Lance Mackey was one of the feautred mushers in LKSD's eJournalism video projects. Image courtesy LKSD.

LKSD eJournalism screenshot.

Students from all over the YK Delta produced several videos about the 2015 Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. KYUK provided a few pointers to the students at the start of their eJournalism intensive. The intensive course is aimed at training and preparing students for careers in media and information technologies.

Check out their projects below.

K300: Start to Finish

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Jackie Larson with one of his dogs at the Bogus Creek 150 finish line in Bethel.

Jackie Larson with dog. – Photo by Chris Pike

Jackie Larson won his second Bogus Creek 150 Saturday morning, crossing the finish line in Bethel at 10:54 a.m. with eight dogs. Led by Bessie and Lightening, the Napaskiak musher beat out Lewis Pavilla running the team from Max Olick’s Bad River Kennel.

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Akiak Dash Mass Start

by Daysha Eaton on January 17, 2015

Pete Kaiser, 27, of Bethel has come close to winning the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race, finishing third place a couple of times. He’s also run the Iditarod several times finishing in the top ten twice. Because of the icy conditions this season, he decided to spend two months in the Interior to put miles on the dogs where there was some snow. Going into the K300 this weekend, he says that was the right decision for his team.

Defending Kuskokwim 300 champion Rohn Buser, age 25 of Big Lake, believes his dogs are even better than his winning team last year. The two-time champion says he’s here to win and his dogs are ready for the ice trail ahead.