[06/06/05 - 12:00 AM]
ABC Television and the Walt Disney Studios Extend Partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts to Offer Workshops for Talented Native American Students

[via press release from ABC]


The ABC Entertainment Talent Development Department and The Walt Disney Studios, in partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), are launching the second annual Summer Workshop initiative for Native American writers, directors and actors whose career goals are to work in the entertainment industry. The six-week educational program will be taught in IAIA's new Library and Technology Center.

The goal of the workshop, which will be held on the IAIA campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico and run from June 13 through July 22, 2005, is to raise the technical and creative skills of Native American filmmakers, screenwriters, producers and actors, and to help them become more competitive in today's demanding marketplace. Eighteen students participated in last year's program. Twenty students have been selected to participate in this year's program. Three of the 2004 workshop's students are currently working with ABC, while another has worked with the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group in Burbank California.

"Never before have more opportunities been available to Indian people in the film and television industries," said Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria), president of the Institute of American Indian Arts. "We are excited and honored to work with ABC and Disney in offering students from across the country this unique opportunity to learn from the decision makers who define excellence in the entertainment industry."

"We are always looking for new and creative ways to expand our diversity efforts here at ABC, and we believe this program will increase the number of qualified Native American applicants seeking careers in television and film," said Carmen J. Smith, vice president, ABC Talent Development. It was Ms. Smith and Ms. Warrior who spearheaded the efforts of this collaboration.

The workshop will give students the opportunity to work with acclaimed producers, screenwriters, actors and directors, both Native and non-Native, from the mainstream entertainment community. A unique facet of the workshop will be the provision of production and post-production teams to facilitate a final product in the form of a video short of the students' work. There will also be evening screenings of faculty and student work intermixed with other films and videos.

Beverly Morris (Aleut), director of the 2005 Summer Television and Film Workshop, is a filmmaker with over 15 years of producing and directing experience, including PBS documentaries on subjects such as Urban Indians, Native arts and artists and Navajo physicist Dr. Fred Begay. Her knowledge will guide the workshop's aggressive blend of classroom lectures, seminars and one-on-one lab sessions.

The IAIA is a multi-tribal center of higher education dedicated to the preservation, study, creative application and contemporary expression of American Indian and Alaska Native arts and culture. As an accredited tribal college, it offers associate and bachelor degrees in creative writing, museum studies, studio arts and visual communications. The IAIA has been recognized by the U.S. Congress as a national treasure, and has served thousands of students from most of the 562 federally recognized tribes.

The ABC Entertainment Television Group and The Walt Disney Studios are committed to this project and the overall diversity initiative set forth by the network. The ABC Entertainment Talent Development Programs have helped many individuals from all walks of life hone their creative skills, with fellowships and grants in writing, directing, acting and many other focuses within entertainment.

Information on the program is available at www.IAIA.edu, and by calling the workshop's director, Beverly Morris, at (505) 424-5713 or (800) 804-6422.

  [june 2005]  

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