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Making Films For Your Culture

When DVDs first came out, I only purchased movies that included the Director's commentary. I have always been fascinated on what was going on in the Director's minds while making their films. Of all films, Pixar's 'Cars' commentary changed on how to approach a film. Within the commentary John Lasseter's, the Director of Cars, wife asked him, "How will you make people care about your film if they don't care about cars?"


I ask myself before making a film for my culture, "How will I make people care about my message if they don't care about my culture?"


Like any film, nowadays, you have roughly 30 seconds to hook the audience in. My personal go-to move is using the language of our ancestors. Either if it's a shocking stat or if the cast knows how to speak, have them speak the language right off the bat. The audience will know exactly what your purpose is within that time frame.

It's always tricky when making films for your culture. It's all about finding that balance of not losing the audience's attention when you go too in depth on any certain topic and at the same time you have to do deep research for the film for the one's who are there to learn more.


Find a topic, a story, a subject that you can't believe that it hasn't been made yet and make it. Right now is a wonderful time to start making films on our own culture. It is a lot cheaper, then before, to make films. More people are becoming more interested in learning their culture/s again. Lastly, big companies are finally seeing that films about our people are an untapped territory, they are now willing to pay to make content on our people.


If a young learner, 25 years from now who wants to learn their culture, my goal is to make it easier for them to learn than it was for me.

While I was first learning my culture, I searched and searched for more information. I was hungry, I was starving, to learn more. Majority of the information that I found was from 40+ years ago and from someone who was not from my culture. It was even more rare to find films on my culture made by anyone.


One thing to remember is that you don't have to own a camera to make films. If you are only interested in learning the culture, you can be a researcher, you can be a writer, you can be a producer as well. Reach out to others who are like-minded, with different skills, and make something that will inspire others to do the same.


If you get anything from this short blog, keep pushing. There will be times when you feel discouraged. There will be times when other's are getting recognition more than you. There will be times when others will be jealous. Keep pushing. Keep producing content that matters. Someone, some day, will notice. It might be years down the road, but if you stay consistent - you will find your core audience.

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