The selected fellows will receive a $25,000 stipend to support their work, and get creative feedback and mentorship as they develop their projects.
Netflix and Native woman-led racial and social justice organisation IllumiNative have announced a cohort of eight Indigenous producers set to participate in the first-ever IllumiNative Producers Programme.
Participants will include Ashley Browning (Lovers Cycle), Taylor Hensel (ᎭᏢ ᎢᏁᎾ (Where Are We Going?), Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Ivan MacDonald (Buffalo Stone), Coyote Park (Destiny in Sedona), Blake Pickens (The Hermit), Mato Standing Soldier (Re:Locate), and Kekama Amona (The Man and the Tree).
Eight Indigenous Fellows — up from the originally planned seven — will each receive a $25,000 grant to develop their projects during the yearlong pathway programme. They were selected from hundreds of applicants based on experience, their commitment to being a lifelong producer, and the type of project they were working on.
In a statement, Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative, said: “For so long, Hollywood has been an accomplice to the institutionalised erasure of Native peoples. We launched this program to combat the historical lack of opportunity and investment in Native storytellers and support the next generation of Indigenous producers. We’re looking forward to a dynamic and collaborative program and are grateful to our partners at Netflix who are helping us equip Indigenous creatives with resources and tools to advance their careers in the entertainment industry.”
Part of Netflix’s five-year, $100m Fund for Creative Equity to support people from historically excluded backgrounds in behind-the-camera roles, the IllumiNative programme will provide its producing fellows with monthly workshops, mentorship and feedback and networking opportunities with industry leaders.
Speaking about the programme, Leah Salgado, Chief Impact Officer of IllumiNative, added: “The Producers Programme gives us the chance to change the trajectory of the entertainment industry, which for too long has excluded Native stories. This cohort of Indigenous producers showcases the complexity and diversity of our community, and it is our belief that investing in and supporting Native producers will increase Native representation and create new opportunities to champion Native storytellers and stories.”
The program was launched in December of 2021, when Netflix partnered with IllumiNative, as part of its Fund for Creative Equity—an effort to help create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented communities within the TV and film industries.