TULSA — The Cherokee Nation Film Office recently partnered with Green Pastures Studio and SeriesFest to introduce the Season 8 Storytellers Initiative, specifically aimed at increasing Indigenous representation within the television industry.
The annual competition offers writers the opportunity to submit a pilot script, participate in a writing workshop with industry experts and a live reading with professional actors, as well as secure a contract to develop a year with the winning scenario. In an ongoing effort to meet the need for more Indigenous people on and off screen, this year’s winning submission must include a Native American screenwriter or actor.
“From the beginning of television, film and traditional media, Native Americans have been grossly underrepresented and currently represent less than 1% of these industries,” said Jennifer Loren, director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content. “The Cherokee Nation and our incredible partners, such as those who joined us at SeriesFest, are doing our part to create more opportunities for appropriate representation and accurate portrayals of Indigenous people in television and film.”
The Tribe’s Film Office also presented “Changing the Narrative: Focus on Native Representation on Television” at SeriesFest on May 7 in Denver, Colorado. The panel included Loren, actor Kaniehtiio Horn, and “Rutherford Falls” showrunner Sierra Teller Ornelas discussing the welcome change in modern Native American characters, with other creators, writers, executive producers, actors, and casting directors in attendance.
“We created the Storytellers Initiative in 2015 to help support emerging writers,” added Randi Kleiner, co-founder and CEO of SeriesFest. “We are thrilled to partner with the Cherokee Nation Film Office and Green Pastures to support and elevate Indigenous representation on screen and behind the camera.”
The Storytellers Initiative, SeriesFest’s signature writing competition, launched in 2015. The initiative aims to discover and celebrate bold new series with a strong point of view and bold characters from the next generation of storytellers.
The Cherokee Nation Film Office launched in 2019 and became the first certified Native American film commission to open in the United States. CNFO has also created and maintains unique and comprehensive online talent, crew and consultant directories featuring actors, extras, voice actors, crew, cultural experts and other industry resources. Native American industry.
Earlier this year, the Cherokee Nation Film Office accomplished another groundbreaking feat by offering the first-ever Tribal Film Incentive Program. For more information about the Cherokee Nation Film Office, please visit cherokee.film.