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 December 2016
Public Media Internship
Know a College Student Who Would Make a Great Intern?
Increasing opportunities for American Indian and Alaska Native youth in public broadcasting is the goal of Vision Maker Media providing the Public Media Internship to undergraduate or graduate students. 
With major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), i nterns can be located at Vision Maker Media's offices at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lincoln, Nebraska, or at a Public Television station in the United States. Vision Maker Media will contact Public Television stations that are requested by interns to determine placement options. Deadline to submit your application is March 1, 2017. 
For assistance: 402-472-3522 or     
'Vis à Vis: Native Tongues' Co-producer Shares Insight 
About Filmmaking, Working with Vision Maker Media
Steven Lawrence
Steven Lawrence co-produced Vis à Vis: Native Tongues, one of the films Vision Maker Media features on "40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks" this month. One of Steven's latest projects is a video he wrote and produced to support Amnesty International's petition to grant executive clemency for Leonard Peltier. We asked Steven to share his insight about Native films, his experience working with Vision Maker Media and his advice for filmmakers beginning a career in filmmaking.

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written and produced by Natives in today's media?
A. If you watch the major broadcast channels for a week, you'd never know Natives exist unless there's a hot news story, like the current protest at Standing Rock. So if non-Native Americans are going to have any awareness of Native stories and the issues affecting their lives, it's not only critical to have films produced by Natives, but also for them to be available and promoted on a mainstream platform like PBS.

Q. Why do you think people should tune in for 40 Years. 40 Films. 40 Weeks?
A. It's the best way to learn about contemporary Native life and history.

Q. What aspect of working with Vision Maker Media was the most worthwhile or rewarding? 
A. Frank Blythe of Vision Maker (then known as Native American Public Telecommunications) was the first funder to embrace the idea for our documentary. His encouragement and the startup funding NAPT provided enabled co-director Phil Lucas (Choctaw) to join the project and made it possible for us to finish research and produce a demo reel. Also, with NAPT's support we had the credibility we needed to put together a co-production deal in Australia, which was spearheaded by our brilliant co-producer/co-director, Nick Torrens (who is one of his Australia's finest documentary filmmakers).

Q. What one experience would you want audiences to take away after viewing your film?
A. It's the underlying idea that drives the work of James Luna and Ningali Lawford: that we can use humor and storytelling (and all the arts) to transform our experiences--even the darkest ones like discrimination and displacement--into something that illuminates, transcends and inspires. The late songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen put it another way in his song, "Anthem" - "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

Q. What advice would you give to filmmakers beginning their careers?
A. Find stories and subjects you're passionate about and that you know you can tell well. Become skilled in the key aspects of filmmaking--directing, producing, shooting and editing--so you have the ability to jumpstart a film even if you don't have any financing and can't hire people to help you. And be guided by your own artistic impulses, not just what's worked for other filmmakers. If you stay true to your subject and your own vision, you'll find a unique and compelling way to tell a story.

VMM Public Media Intern Helps Produce Story 
On Camp for Children With Speech Impairments
By Edmund Frazer Myer, Public Media Intern
Vision Maker Media 
My Vision Maker Media (VMM) 10-week internship included job-shadowing professionals, hands-on learning and meeting professionals in the industry who want to share Native American stories. This experience offered an opportunity to meet, learn from and work for video production crews.
As a communication major at Washington State University (WSU), I had the support of my professor, Ben Shors, to get me started at Northwest Public Television (NWPTV) on campus. Affiliated with the local PBS station, NWPTV provided training in video logging and how to set up equipment.
In June, I traveled to Oakland, California, for the VMM Filmmaker Training. Meeting others with the same passion to produce Native stories increased my enthusiasm and made me realize that I can contribute by doing Native American stories.
On a shoot for WSU Spokane, I was part of producing a story on Camp Candoo, a camp for children with speech impairments. That experience gave me an idea for a variety of film topics.
From my interactions with Native Americans from various regions, I realize that Natives have a similar sense of humor and mannerisms. I've also realized they have very complex differences such as traditions and rituals.
The last two weeks of my internship I bought a camera and started shooting video on my reservation, where I learned more about my tribe, practiced operating the camera, gathered material for a short story on my tribe's language and set up interviews.
I met with challenges: setting up interviews, getting people to open up with the camera rolling. I also learned first-hand the importance of using a good microphone to capture quality audio. Reviewing my footage afterward with Ben Shors, I recognized mistakes I won't make again and realized what needs to be added to the story.

40 Years.  40 Films.  40 Weeks
In celebration of our 40th anniversary, a collection of 40 films will be available for free streaming--a different film each week--through Aug. 7, 2017.

January Film Schedule:
Jan. 3 - Games of the North
Jan. 10 - Weaving Worlds
Jan. 17 - Indian Country Diaries: A Seat at the Drum
Jan. 24 - Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire
Jan. 31 - The Return of Navajo Boy
Complete Schedule
Available  on:  and   
Why You Should Support Vision Maker Media
According to Steven Lawrence, Co-producer, Vis à Vis: Native Tongues
" Vision Maker is the most significant funding source and distribution platform for Native-themed media. To be honest, we could not have produced  Vis à Vis: Native Tongues 
without their support. With its pipeline to Public TV and Radio, and its digital and DVD distribution to classrooms, Vision Maker plays a vital and irreplaceable role.  Vision Maker Media supports media that reflects and affirms the lives and cultural heritage of Natives. As far as I can see, no other organization is doing this consistently.  Vision Maker Media provides support to filmmakers b y directly funding films that other funders generally overlook (or at least don't consider as high a priority). They also provide a distribution service that makes the films accessible to both Native and non-Native viewers."  

Your continued support... allows us to offer films that reflect and affirm the lives and cultural heritage of Natives. Together, we make films available to both Native and non-Native viewers.  We thank those of you who provided your support during the current fiscal quarter. Support Vision Maker Media
Amazonsmile Susan Hartmann Lynne B. Neel
Dawn Amory Ann Hume Freimuth Dolores Perry
John Andrews Margaret Jacobs Wilma Jeanne Perry-Jones
Joni Buffalohead Shirley Jacobson Jack M. Perry-Jones
Joan Burbach Franz Joachim Russell Relethford
Gavin Clarkson Pete King Kari Ritter
Roy Clem Robert Klinger Carla Robinson
Sue Cronin Susan Kus Scott Sackett
Jo Anna Dale Susan Kyle Douglas Scott Sr.
Amy Den Ouden Merry Lance Maya Solis
Marianne Dillon Georgiana Lee Martha Stampfer
Colette Eastman Peter & Christine Lotto Mark Trahant
Jeffri Frontz Patrick McGloin Al & Rhetta Walter
James Girzone Ann McKeighan Foster J. Witthauer
Roberta Grossman Andrew J. Morris III

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