(Left to Right) 2024 Native Lens Media Fellows, Sommer Lopez, Julies Joe, Sierra Buffalohead, Tonya Tolino, Nika Arce, (back) Evan Smith, Eva Bear, Tyler Soce and Ellyse Fredricks at the KSUT Public Radio Station’s studio in Ignacio, Colorado, taken on Sunday, February 25.

Nine Indigenous storytellers embark on a journey of artistic empowerment through the 2024 Native Lens Media Fellowship.

This rigorous program, a collaborative effort by KSUT Tribal Media Center, Rocky Mountain Public Media, and Vision Maker Media, provides a unique platform for these diverse voices. Chosen from over 70 aspiring filmmakers, these fellows will delve into the art of filmmaking, gaining the skills to amplify underrepresented voices and forge a deeper understanding of other Indigenous cultures through the lens of cinema.

Future Indigenous award-winners

Native Lens Project Producer, Colleen Thurston gives advice to Native Lens Media Fellows about interviewing at KSUT Public Radio Station in Ignacio, Colorado, on Sunday, February 25.

Under the guidance of experienced Native filmmakers like Colleen Thurston, Charine Gonzales, and Colten Ashley, the fellows embark on a transformative journey. Through three weeks of Monday’s virtual workshops and a week in-person intensive held at KSUT Public Radio Station in Ignacio, Colorado, where they are delving into the world of filmmaking, acquiring skills in videography, editing, audio, lighting, interviewing, and more. This week-long intensive sets the stage for them to craft their own short films, with the culmination being their premiere at the Durango Independent Film Festival.

The Native Lens Media Fellowship is more than just a training program; it’s a platform for amplifying Indigenous voices and fostering a new generation of storytellers. For these individuals, the journey of filmmaking is not just about creating films, it’s about healing, preserving, and celebrating their heritage through the power of digtial-storytelling.

The Native Lens Media Fellows films will be premiere on Saturday, March 2 at 5 p.m at the Durango Arts Center.

Future Indigenous award-winners

Native Lens Media Fellow poster.


Editor’s Note:

A big thanks to Kree Lopez, a cultural consultant and native lens assistant editor, for their invaluable her in producing and ensuring the film’s accuracy and cultural sensitivity.