January 2017
'Under the Husk' Features Mohawk Women Who Reclaim Their Coming-of-age Ceremony
A new documentary, "Ohero:kon - Under the Husk," follows the journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women. Kaienkwinehtha and Kasennakohe are childhood friends from traditional families living in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne that straddles the U.S./Canada border. They both take part in a four-year adolescent passage rites ceremony called oher√≥:kon "under the husk" that has been revived in their community. This ceremony challenges them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. It shapes the women they become. 

The film had its world premiere at imagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto, Ontario, in October 2016. The producer/director, Katsitsionni Melissa Fox was honored with the Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Filmmaker. In addition, the film has been selected to several film festivals, including the American Indian Film Festival, the First Nations Film and Video Festival, LA SKINSFEST and REFRAME Film Festival. 

At LA SKINSFEST creative team members were excited to receive the "Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award." In addition, the film screened at the Seneca Art and Culture Center and at the Annual PGMA Indian Art Market, as well as community screenings in the territories of Akwesasne and Onondaga.  Women Make Movies will distribute the film with some shared video distribution with Vision Maker Media. Look for the film March 2017 on PBS. MORE:  www.underthehuskfilm.com
Wanted: Your Proposals for Film Projects

Vision Maker Media invites proposals for programs intended for Public Television that represent the experiences, values and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  Deadline to submit proposals is March 1, 2017.
Support for the Vision Maker Media Public Television Program Fund is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more information, please download and read the complete guidelines.
'The Return of Navajo Boy' Gives Voice to Hidden Stories
Producer Jeff Spitz knows that his film The Return of Navajo Boy had a strong impact and influenced real change by reuniting a Navajo family, and it triggered an investigation into uranium contamination. The film also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has screened and won awards at film festivals internationally. This month his film is featured on Vision Maker Media's "40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks" project during the week of Jan. 31.
Q.  Why is it important to have films created, written and produced by Natives in today's media?
A. As Standing Rock shows, Native people are a vital part of American democracy and yet they have been largely invisible in the media until this demonstration. The demonstration has revealed the power of corporate media to spin social issues and the determination of elected officials to stop dissent even if it means mass arrests for civil disobedience. While Native people have always been a central part of the American story, their diversity has always been ignored. The distinct voices and visions of Native people tend to be missing in our mainstream media, or when they do appear, they are almost always defined by non-Natives. The Standing Rock encampment and ongoing demonstration could be a turning point where Native identities emerge in leadership positions and connect Native ideas and values to other sectors of society which are looking to Standing Rock for clues about how to resist the fossil fuels and carbon dependent industries. Without films created, written and produced by Natives, there is only a dominant popular media culture. Indigenous points of view are distinctly different and deserve to be heard in all their variation and richness. Native talent and real collaboration gives voice to hidden stories. 

Q. Why do you think people should tune in for "40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks." project?
A. People who are looking for authenticity, new points of view and entertainment that they have not already seen will find a remarkable world right under their noses. It has happened in the past. The "40 years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks." project is a remarkable collection of stories and people love stories. If properly promoted in mainstream media viewers will check it out and appreciate the unique stories in the collection. I think followers of Ira Glass, This American Life, Story Corps and Humans of New York, would all find this series compelling. 

Q. What aspect of working with Vision Maker Media (VMM) was the most worthwhile or rewarding for you? 
A. Being a panelist for NAPT's (now Vision Maker Media) open call.  Including me as a funding panelist helped me understand the organization (NAPT) and become a more effective film teacher and advocate. NAPT brought  The Return of Navajo Boy  to South Africa where the opportunity to meet South Africans led to a new indigenous project.

Q. How does VMM provide support to you as a filmmaker? 
A. Finishing funds helped our team add six minutes and put the film on PBS for a national audience. PBS leverage helped us push the feds into investigating uranium contamination and forcing the Justice Department to re-open a case involving compensation for a former uranium miner featured in our film. A week before the broadcast, the Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the former miner's claim and notified me directly. That began a 15-year history of leveraging this story to dig out the truth and force Congress to clean up radioactive contamination in the Navajo Nation. We realized that media has real power. And we have continued to apply it through webisodes showing what happened next and leading up to a billion dollar payout from a corporate contaminator that we exposed in our film. A little support at the right time can make a huge difference.

Q. What one experience would you want audiences to take away after viewing your film? 
A. It's a powerful experience to participate in a family reunion. Any family reunion. The Navajo family reunion in our film binds up a lot wounds and heals a lot of pain, but it also provokes audiences to reflect on the incredible price Native American families have paid in America's rise to become the world's leading nuclear power. The more people learn about that the more they want to prevent that from happening to other families. The reunion is an experience that brings tears of joy and grief and it has inspired many people to make a difference in their lives.

Q. How do Vision Maker Media films help serve Indian Country? 
A. VMM films educate people and give Native filmmakers a way forward into careers.

Q. What advice would you give to filmmakers beginning their careers? 
A. Think of filmmaking as you would think of writing and storytelling and playing ball, not as something rare and only available to the rich. Ask "what conversation do I want to have with the world?" Use all your skills and build teams for each project. Do not obsess about your camera and editing equipment - that's only part of the equation. The goals are to tell a compelling story, to build community and to involve the next generation (and older ones) as much as possible. The best stories are timeless,timely and intergenerational.
Digital Distributor FNX Reaches 
23+ Million Households
Video streaming can help producers who want to maintain control of their market share. Several major players include Kanopy and Alexander Street. Another participant in the market is the First Nations Experience (FNX) , the only nationally distributed television network in the U.S. with a 24/7 dedication to Native American and World Indigenous content. This noncommercial non-profit educational channel is distributed within the PBS system and is a subsidiary of PBS Member station KVCR in San Bernardino, California. 

Since launching to a local L.A. market in September 2011 through a grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, FNX has continued to grow, expanding its Los Angeles reach to most major cable and satellite carriers including DirecTV, Time Warner, Charter Spectrum and Frontier Fios (formerly Verizon), and has the largest digital over-the-air public television footprint via parent station KVCR and affiliate station KLCS.

On a national scale FNX was first picked up by LPTV in Bemidji, Minnesota, KUAC in Alaska, KEET in Northern California and WYCC in Chicago in 2013. After its launch on the Public Television Satellite system  Nov. 1, 2014, FNX expanded its national distribution to include stations in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, New York, Oregon, Texas, Arizona and more. Today, FNX reaches more than 23 million households in 20 states across the country.

FNX is distributed over the air and by localized TV and satellite distributors. However, a U.S. geo-blocked live feed for free online accessibility is in the works for late 2017. Select content will also be available on demand (view only, no download) as a free service through the www.fnx.org website by the first quarter of this year.
Job Opportunities
Please see our website for a complete listing of job opportunities.

Six Positions
Deadline: Jan. 31, 2017
Deadline: Continuous

Film Festival Opportunities
Please see our website for a complete listing of film festival opportunities.

Deadline: Feb. 3, 2017

New York
Deadline: Feb. 11, 2017
March 1-5, 2017
March 2-4, 2017

March 29, 2017

Training and Other Opportunities
Please see our website for a complete listing of training and other opportunities.

C-SPAN's StudentCam 
Competition 2017

United States
Deadline: Jan. 20, 2017
Film School Shorts
United States
Deadline: Jan. 31, 2017

PBS Digital Innovator - for Educators
United States
Deadline: Feb. 12, 2017
IFP Filmmaker Labs
United States
Deadline: March 3, 2017

Funding Opportunities
Please see our website for a complete listing of funding opportunities.

NAJA Proposals
Deadline: Jan. 20, 2017
ITVS Digital Open Call
United States
Deadline: Feb. 17, 2017
Public Media Content Fund
United States
Deadline: March 1, 2017
Digital Shorts Fund
United States
Deadline: March 10, 2017
Ford Foundation
United States
Deadline: Ongoing
Rolling Deadline

Fellowship and Internship Opportunities
Please see our website for a complete listing of fellowship and internship opportunities.

Rolling Deadline
Ford Foundation
United States
Deadline: Ongoing
Public Media Internship
United States
Deadline: March 1, 2017

Producer Newsletter Vol. 11 Issue 1
A list of opportunities for filmmakers to help increase
 the diversity  of the media landscape.