In the film landscape, Native and Indigenous voices are vastly underrepresented, despite the immense talent and efforts of filmmakers within those communities.
In addition to receiving a grant, each fellow enjoys the opportunity to connect with the broader international Indigenous film community at the Sundance Film Festival’s Native Forum. And for the long term, all recipients receive a continuum of expert creative and tactical support from Sundance Institute staff and creative advisors throughout the life of their project, ensuring that the next generation of Indigenous storytellers will always have a platform to be heard.
“As a noted activist, documentarian, and the first—and only—Māori woman to write and direct a dramatic feature film, Merata committed her life’s work to telling Māori stories from a Māori perspective. Throughout her career she identified the lack of training for Māori people in the New Zealand film and television industry and, therefore, an underrepresentation of her community’s stories. Merata dedicated her life to addressing these areas. She was a global advocate for Indigenous voices and we are proud to continue her efforts through this fellowship.” —Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache) Director, Native American and Indigenous Film Program Sundance Institute.