About this Event
3507 Trousdale Pkwy Los Angeles, CA 90007https://visionsandvoices.usc.edu/eventdetails/?event_id=41164762332543
Admission is free.
Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a big-screen theatrical showcase of Native American short films, followed by a conversation with the filmmakers.
This event is presented in conjunction with the LA SKINS FEST, a film festival that provides opportunities and outlets for Native American filmmakers and offers additional programming to encourage them, including a monthly writers group, monthly directors workshop, and youth multimedia workshops.
About the films:
My First Native American Boyfriend (Directed by Joey Clift, 5 minutes)
Johnny is Emily’s first Native American boyfriend. Now that they’ve been dating for a few months, she’s going to take this golden opportunity to apologize for every microaggression she has ever made against Native Americans.
Your Name Isn’t English (Directed by Tazbah Rose Chavez, 15 minutes)
As drivers struggle to pronounce her name, a Native American passenger offers history lessons from the backseat. It’s a lesson in American history they won’t forget.
Dogwood (Directed by Maya Rose Dittloff, 16 minutes)
After seeing her aunt come home battered and scared, Rose Home Gun is sent out into the wilds surrounding their small home on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Her task? To collect the bulb of the white camas. Seemingly simple, Rose is unknowingly sent out to collect death camas to be used against her aunt’s abuser. While working to protect her sister from this knowledge, Rose must knowingly acquiesce to the plot against her uncle-in-law in order to save her family.
In Our Own Hands (Directed by Jennifer Varenchik, 11 minutes)
A group of women plan rescue efforts when one of their own goes missing from their reservation.
OChiSkwaCho (Directed by Jules Koostachin, 16 minutes)
OChiSkwaCho is a sacred being, known to many Indigenous people as a spiritual messenger. Kokoom, an elderly (spiritually ailing) two-spirit woman, has to decide whether to stay with her grandchildren or follow the OChiSkwaCho.
TwoBears (Directed by Anthony Florez, Produced by Annika Dawson, 18 minutes)
Casey TwoBears is a Marine Corps veteran, ex-junkie, and former county inmate. While working as a janitor for a boxing gym, Casey volunteers be the sparring partner for the local “champ” to prove his worth as a warrior in the ring, but also to prove himself as the modern warrior that his daughter and granddaughter can depend on.
Tazbah Rose Chavez is a performance poet turned director and television writer. She is currently a co-executive producer/director on FX’s Reservation Dogs and a producer/director on NBCUniversal’s Rutherford Falls (directing 2 episodes for S2). Additionally, she directed for Sex Lives of College Girls and is a writer/director on Fox’s upcoming new series, Accused. Before that, she was a staffer writer for SyFy’s Resident Alien. Raised in Payahuunadu, Tazbah is a citizen of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and comes from the Nüümü, Diné, and San Carlos Apache people.
Joey Clift is a comedian, TV writer, and enrolled Cowlitz Indian Tribal Member. Writing credits include Spirit Rangers on Netflix, New Looney Tunes on Cartoon Network, and Molly of Denali on PBS. He was named one of Uproxx’s “26 Native American Comedians to Follow in 2020” and his award-winning short films have screened everywhere from Comedy Central and Just For Laughs to The Smithsonian Museum. Most importantly, he created the L.A. Underground Cat Network, which is a 15,000-member strong Facebook group for Los Angeles comedians to share pictures of their cats.
Annika Dawson is a graduate of USC’s prestigious Stark Producing Program who recently completed the highly selective 2020 Women in Film Creative Producing Mentorship Program. Working as a multi-hyphenate across multiple mediums, she has worked in TV and Film Development at Spyglass Media, line producing for Emmy-nominated docu-series programs and features In 2021, she co-produced a comedy feature starring David Arquette and Snoop Dogg with theatrical distribution, and a horror feature that has limited theatrical release and available on itunes with XYZ Films.
Maya Rose Dittloff (ukkayu”kwiyinnimmakii/Many Pipes Woman) is a Mandan, Hidatsa, and Blackfeet writer, director, and producer. Dittloff has worked as a staff writer for AMC/AMC+, as well as served as a fellow with the LA Skins Fest Feature Writing Lab, Native American Media Alliance Showrunner Program, and the Native American Arts and Culture Foundation LIFT Program. Her other accolades include the 2022 Indigenous List (co-presented by the Black List, Sundance Institute, and Illuminative) as well as the 2022 Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program.
Anthony Florez is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Northern Nevada. Inspired by the service of his (late) father, uncles, and grandfather, Anthony became a third-generation serviceman when he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2008 and was commissioned as an Ensign. Florez achieved the rank of Lieutenant and, after six years, he departed the Navy in pursuit of writing and filmmaking. In 2018, Florez was selected for the 21st Century Fox Writers Lab and was also awarded the Tisch School of Arts Dean’s Fellowship in television writing to study at NYU’s Graduate Dramatic Writing Program. Anthony recently directed TwoBears as a 2020 Vision Maker Media short film fellow and worked as an executive story editor on AMC’s Dark Winds and POWER Book IV: Force at STARZ.
Jules Arita Koostachin is an InNiNew IsKwew (Swampy Cree woman) and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation. Jules was raised by her Cree-speaking grandparents in Moosonee, as well as in Ottawa with her mother, a residential school warrior. She is a graduate of Concordia University’s Theatre program and Ryerson University’s Documentary Media Master’s program. In 2010, Jules was awarded an Award of Distinction and an Academic Gold Medal for her thesis documentary, Remembering Inninimowin. Known for her award-winning films, documentary, and media projects, she is DGC, WGC, and ACTRA, Koostachin is also the voice of Layla on the award-winning animated series Molly of Denali.
Jennifer Varenchik (she/her) is a writer and director who started as an actress, then moved behind the camera to create more accurate depictions of Indigenous people on screen. Jennifer’s theater background includes training from The Groundlings Improv Theater and Stella Adler Academy of Acting. She studied screenwriting at Long Beach City College and has written and directed eight short films to date. Her proof of concept short In Our Own Hands won the Gold Award at the Mindfield Film Festival in Albuquerque, was nominated for Best Short Film at the American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco, 2021) and for Best Women Short at Indie Short Fest (Los Angeles, 2022). Veranchik is a proud member of the Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona, and is now working to produce a feature length version of In Our Own Hands.
Shelley Dennis (moderator) was born into a family of Choctaw storytellers in small-town Oklahoma (population 700). A self-proclaimed hillbilly, she experienced major culture shock when she moved to Milan and made a living being tall and hungry. She then moved to L.A. where she took her modeling stories to the stage and the page. She’s toured alongside Wayne Brady, doing both standup and improv and acted in everything from soap operas to multicams. In 2020, Shelley was one of four selected for the Native American Showrunner program. She became a staff writer on Spirit Rangers at Netflix, was in the 2021 Disney General Entertainment Writing Program, and is currently writing for her second season as a story editor on The Conners at ABC.
Presented by the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Outside the Box (Office), USC Visions and Voices, and the LA SKINS FEST.
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