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NATIVe Stand Fellows Programme

Posted on November 20, 2023



Scott W. Kekama Amona (KEKE and E MĀLAMA PONO, WILLY BOY) and Tsanavi
Spoonhunter (HOLDER OF THE SKY) will attend European Film Market in 2024

(Honolulu) - Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) announced in partnership with Nia
and Vision Maker Media the selection of Tsanavi Spoonhunter and Scott W. Kekama
as part of the The NATIVe Stand Fellows Programme. The international
professional-development opportunity allows Indigenous producers to attend the European
Film Market (EFM)
from February 15-21st, 2024 in Berlin with a market-ready feature film

The NATIVe Fellows programme is a rare fellowship opportunity exclusive to Indigenous
feature film producers or producing directors to have their projects promoted through the
NATIVe Indigenous Cinema Stand and to participate in a curated program at the EFM. The
NATIVe Fellows programme brings together an intimate group of Indigenous producers
from the Stand Partners’ regional areas whose EFM activities will be enhanced through
specific training, meetings, networking events, panels, and social activities to orient and
help them take full advantage of the EFM and the Berlinale.

“Pacific Islanders in Communications is proud to be part of a program that puts Native and
Indigenous creators at the forefront of one of the largest media markets in the world,” said
Cheryl Hirasa, executive director of Pacific Islanders in Communications. “The NATIVe Stand
Fellows programme is a vital part of our unwavering effort to cultivate capacity and
community power that helps develop a sustainable and thriving Pacific Islander media
making ecosystem.”

“Indigenous stories are a source of generational knowledge and resilience that connects us to
our shared humanity,” said Nia Tero Managing Director, Storytelling, Tracy Rector, “We are
thrilled to support and uplift filmmakers like Tsanavi and Kekama throughout the European
Film Market.”

“Native stories are invaluable contributions to the world of cinema and challenges that we
face today as a society,” said Francene Blythe-Lewis, executive director of Vision Maker
Media. “Through opportunities such as the NATIVe Stand Fellows programme, Indigenous
learnings that may have otherwise gone untold, or even forgotten, can be celebrated and
shared with a global audience.”

About the 2024 NATIVe Stand Fellows:

Tsanavi Spoonhunter
Northern Arapaho (citizen) and Northern Paiute | California

Tsanavi Spoonhunter is a reporter and nonfiction filmmaker. Spoonhunter was born and
raised by her Paiute peoples in Central California, but is also a proud citizen of the Northern
Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Her ancestry and
upbringing in Indian Country have strongly informed her storytelling and artistic vision.
Spoonhunter earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno; and an M.J.
from the University of California, Berkeley with a documentary film concentration. Since then,
her short films have screened on Alaska Airlines, at the National Museum of the American
Indian, The Redford Center, art museums and PBS affiliates.

Presently, she serves as director and producer on her first feature-length documentary titled
Holder of the Sky (2025). In 2023, Spoonhunter became a Firelight Media Documentary Lab
fellow and a Woodstock Film Festival resident. As a Northern Arapaho and Paiute reporter
and filmmaker, she understands the impact that the media industry can have on individuals
and communities. With that in mind, her goal is to pursue the highest levels of accuracy and
ethical standards when crafting stories that contribute to solution-based coverage.

Film Project: HOLDER OF THE SKY is a modern-day American story of colonization that
documents three Wisconsin Tribes' battle to reclaim the historic treaty promises made to
them in the face of longstanding racism and lingering land lust.

Country: USA
Duration: 90 minutes
Category: Documentary
Language: English, Oneida, Ojibwe, Menominee
Development Stage: Production

Scott W. Kekama Amona - watch his latest interview with KITV4 about the program
Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) | Hawaiʻi

Scott W. Kekama Amona, homegrown on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, is a Kanaka Maoli
former educator turned award-winning director, producer, and screenwriter. Native Hawaiian
perspectives and values of aloha (unconditional compassion), moʻokūʻauhau (genealogical
connectivity as the past before us), makawalu (eight-eye mindset), and aloha ʻāina (love for
and connection to the land) are guiding stars for his creative works.

A previous fellow of the Sundance Native Shorts Lab, Good Pitch Hawaiʻi, and inaugural
IllumiNative Producers Program in partnership with Netflix, Kekama was also one of eight
Native Hawaiian writer-directors selected for the inaugural Makawalu feature film project
with Hawaiʻi International Film Festival (HIFF) in collaboration with producers Sarah Kim and
Brown Sugar Apple Grunt (BSAG) Productions to create a narrative portmanteau film around
tourism’s impact on Hawaiian identity. Kekama previously produced Justyn Ah Chong’s
award-winning short Down on the Sidewalk in Waikīkī and is an associate producer on Alika
Tengan’s upcoming feature Molokaʻi Bound. His short E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy premiered at
the 2022 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, winning the audience award at the 2022
Hawaiʻi International Film Festival and the 2023 Māoriland Film Festival, and is in script
development for Kekama’s first feature-length narrative titled Keke.

Film Project: KEKE is a feature-length narrative, expanding on the short E MĀLAMA PONO,
WILLY BOY, where a Native Hawaiian girl whose world is impacted by the shortcomings of
the adults around her must take an ingenious path toward reconnecting with her kupuna,
finding joy, discovering her genealogical birthright, and becoming PONO.

Country: USA
Duration: 90 minutes
Category: Fiction
Language: ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian), Hawaiʻi Creole English (Pidgin), English
Development Stage: Development

The 2024 NATIVe Stand Fellows will be present at the 2024 EFM alongside fellow sponsoring
partners such as Pacific Islanders in Communications and imagineNATIVE. For more
information about the NATIVe Stand Fellows programme, please visit www.niatero.org.

About Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC):
Established in 1991, Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is the only national public
media organization that supports media content and its makers to work together to promote
a deeper understanding of Pacific Islander history, culture and contemporary issues that
define our communities. PIC addresses the need for media content that reflects America’s
growing ethnic and cultural diversity by funding independently produced films and by
providing hundreds of hours of innovative content by and about Pacific Islanders to American
public television including its flagship series Pacific Heartbeat. PIC is a nonprofit
501(c)(3) funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

For more information about Pacific Islanders in Communications and Pacific Heartbeat, visit
piccom.org and follow us on social media:
Facebook.com/piccom | Instagram: @picpacific | TikTok: @picpacific

About Nia Tero
Nia Tero is a global non-profit working to secure Indigenous guardianship of diverse
ecosystems through direct funding to Indigenous Peoples, policy negotiations, and
storytelling efforts. The Storytelling Team, led by Tracy Rector, has started initiatives like the

Reciprocity Project, the Seedcast podcast, Kin Theory (an Indigenous media makers
database), the Thriving Peoples. Thriving Places campaign, and offers a variety of fellowships
and grants to support diverse Indigenous-led approaches to storytelling, cultural
amplification, skill building, climate action, and environmental stewardship. Nia Tero joined
the NATIVe Cinema Stand in 2020 and each subsequent year has helped send fellows who
have market-ready, feature film projects from Pasifika and Turtle Island that are driven by
stories of their home, the environment, and cultural connection. Respect and reciprocity
remain at the heart of storytelling within Nia Tero and through this work, they seek to honour
the diversity of Indigenous understanding of place, language, culture, and lived experience.

Find out more at niatero.org and @niatero

About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media (VMM) is the premier source of public media by and about Native Americans since 1976. Our mission is empowering and engaging Native people to share stories. We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. We work with VMM funded producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all public media. VMM supports training to increase the number of Native Americans and Alaska Natives producing public broadcasting programs. A key strategy for this work is in partnerships with Tribal nations and Native organizations and communities.

Vision Maker Media is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), For more information visit visionmakermedia.org.

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