Third Annual Native American Media Alliance (NAMA) Unscripted Workshop Selects Fellows

The Native American Media Alliance has selected 7 participants for the 3rd 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.

“We are excited to support a new cohort of unscripted indigenous filmmakers.” stated Ian Skorodin (Choctaw), Director of Strategy; Native American Media Alliance. “Several fellows from past years have been able to develop, produce and distribute their unscripted projects to mainstream outlets.”

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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) initiative functions as a resource for industry personnel to work with Native Americans who have an interest in 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.

The 7 selected fellows:

Michael R.L.Begay is Navajo and Santo Domingo Pueblo from the SouthSide of Chicago, IL.. Begay is a multidisciplinary artist, has received numerous awards for his work in both film and art across the U.S. & Canada. Begay is also an International Exchange Alumni from The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Education & Cultural Affairs Administered by World Learning “Communities Connecting Heritage”.

Rory Crittenden is a screenwriter, director, and producer from the Peavine community of the Cherokee Nation. He is a winner of six Heartland Regional Emmys for his past documentary work for his tribe. In 2022 he became a recipient of Firelight Media’s SPARK Fund, underwritten by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He participated in the Native American Media Alliance’s 2nd Annual Native American Writer’s Seminar and was chosen as a fellow for NAMA’s 5th Annual Native American Feature Film Writers Lab. His western television pilot Goingsnake was a quarter-finalist in the 2022 Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest. Rory is a Cherokee history nerd and a pro-wrasslin’ enthusiast. He makes his living as a freelance filmmaker, helping to create media for various Indigenous governments, television programs and community organizations. Rory lives in Tulsa with his wife Christy and their two children.

DezBaa’ is a SAG actor, television writer, and an indie film producer. She is a citizen of the Diné Nation, born in and is based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. DezBaa’ is born for the Nooda’í Dine’e (Ute clan), and was raised in Española, NM. She is of Basque, Spanish, and Mexican descent. DezBaa’ first began her career in the New Mexico film industry as a background actor. She quickly secured speaking roles and now has been on Better Call Saul, worked alongside Julianne Moore, and finished her first season as a staff writer on AMC’s Dark Winds TV show.

She is a film mentor for New Mexico’s Film Prize Jr. working with middle school and high schoolers to encourage and help them learn to create their own stories from concept to first screening. She is a former Division of Natural Resources Navajo Nation employee, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology from Amherst College. She holds two MFAs from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM-one for Screenwriting and one for Creative Nonfiction. An alumna and now a faculty member at Northern New Mexico College where she first began studying filmmaking, she teaches Indigenous Cinema.

Amanda Erickson (Director/Executive Producer) is born for the San Carlos Apache of the White Water Clan on her father’s side. But, growing up outside of her community, she often wondered about her Indigenous roots. Her journey of reconnection to culture and community would take 38 years and be the catalyst for her first feature documentary, She Cried That Day, which investigates the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives through the eyes of the Indigenous women and Allies on the frontlines in New Mexico.

Before making her directorial debut, Amanda worked as a non-fiction TV Producer for 15 years, where she created compelling programming for networks like: Travel Channel, National Geographic Wild, Investigation Discovery, and Curiosity Stream. Amanda is a 2023 Film Independent Doc Lab Fellow, International Women’s Media Foundation Journalist Fund and LEF Foundation Moving Image Fund recipient. She is a proud member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Array Crew and a Teaching Artist for newport FILM. Through her company, Sees Clearly Productions, Amanda aims to inspire social change by amplifying issues facing Indigenous communities.

Priscilla Naunġaġiaq Hensley is a filmmaker, writer and artist focused on sharing and creating dynamic, connected work. By leaning into illuminating elements of culture, community and individual lives, her aim is to engage and entertain, making space for understanding. With family roots in Qikiktaġruk (Kotzebue) and Anchorage, AK, she carries Iñupiat and Settler heritage, reflecting the complexity of identity and history.

A senior in the Cinematic Arts & Technology program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, she was awarded a George R. R. Martin Literary Foundation scholarship for screenwriting. Hensley holds an Interdisciplinary BA in Dance and Anthropology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Featured work includes the upcoming Navajo Police: Class 57 (HBO, Producer), WE UP: Indigenous Hip Hop of the Circumpolar North (Anchorage Museum, Co-Director), and the recent article Northern Beats, Righteous Rhymes (Inuit Art Quarterly).

Brandi Morin is an award-winning Cree/Iroquois/French freelance journalist/producer/ documentary filmmaker from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta. She is passionate about showcasing stories of injustice, human rights, environment, culture, tradition and strength from an Indigenous viewpoint. Brandi is a well-known journalist and storyteller. For over 12 years, Brandi has been sharing stories which have influenced reconciliation in Canada’s political, cultural, and social environments.Her bylines include the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, The Guardian, BBC World, Rolling Stone Magazine, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, the CBC and many more outlets.

She has won numerous awards for her journalism such as a Human Rights Reporting award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her work with the CBC’s Beyond 94 project which tracks progress on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2019 and an Edward R. Murrow for her series on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls with Al Jazeera English. Published in 2022, her debut memoir, Our Voice of Fire: A Memoir of a Warrior Rising, is the story of her life, the story of a survivor of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls crisis.

Amy Stretten (she/they) is a bilingual, Black / Indigenous queer Femme journalist, columnist, commentator, and the creator of cultural fashion platform The Chief of Style. She is a member of the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia and is currently an artist fellow at The Center for Cultural Power, an arts and culture social justice non-profit, where she is producing a narrative change project on decolonizing health and wellness in Indian Country. Most recently, she was featured in queer fashion book DapperQ Style:Ungendering Fashion from Harper Collins. Her work has appeared on Reckon News, Fox Soul, CNN / HLN, ABC News, NYPost, United Nations TV, Snapchat News, Aboriginal People’s Television Network, HuffPost Live, TYT Network, and ABC / Univision’s Fusion. She is a graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Mount Holyoke College, and completed coursework in Federal Indian policy while a WINS intern at American University in DC. She lives in Los Angeles (on Tongva ancestral land). You can find her on Instagram @ChiefofStyle.

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