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Native American Actors Virtual Panel – Recap
March 22 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
A Panel Discussion about the Native American Actor Experience
This Event Took Place March 22, 2021, 7:00 P.M. PST
Outside the Box [Office], Our Voices, USC Visions & Voices,
and LA SKINS FEST Present
A Panel Discussion about the
Native American Actor Experience
Featuring MorningStar Angeline, Sheri Foster Blake, Kiowa Gordon, Martin Sensmeier and CARA JADE MYERS
Moderated by Founder of the LA SKINS FEST, Ian Skorodin
The Native American Actors Experience was a blunt, honest and hilarious panel thanks to our fun panelists and dedicated partners! Panelists shared their genuine feelings on acting, working in the industry and maintaining their inspiration. They also discussed their personal experiences on set and auditioning and the new interest in Native American productions.
Recording Available Here:
About the Panel Discussion
The Native American Actor Experience Panel will focus on Native American identity and representation in media. This panel will feature Native American actors and filmmakers who will discuss the meaning of proper representation and the damage caused by misrepresentation. Native American actors will also provide insight into breaking into the acting industry, maintaining an acting a career and building on success within the industry.
About the Guests
MORNINGSTAR ANGELINE (Diné, Blackfoot, Chippewa and Latinx)
MorningStar Angeline is a queer Navajo, Chippewa Cree, Blackfoot, and Latinx New Mexico-based actress, director, producer, writer, and performer. She made her feature debut in Sundance 2014’s Drunktown’s Finest and has since acted in features such as Keyhole Garden (2021), The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw (2019), and television such as Yellowstone, Chambers, and Longmire. In 2020, she was selected as a Vision Maker Media Short Film Fellow for her co-written and co-directed short Seeds and a Native American Feature Film Fellow for her script Rowdy by Nature. Morningstar is a 2018 Sundance Indigenous Lab Fellow for her short Yá’át’ééh Abiní and was honored by the New Mexico Film, and TV Hall of Fame the same year. Most recently she was cast as Martha Hawk in Amazon’s series Outer Range, assisted director Zack Snyder on his 2021 film Army of the Dead, and is currently in pre-production for Seeds.
SHERI FOSTER BLAKE (Cherokee Nation)
Originally from Texas, Sheri Foster has long been active in Los Angeles’s entertainment community. Her theater experiences include the world premiere of Bill Yellow Robe’s The Independence of Eddie Rose, Death of a Miner, God of Vengeance, Meacham in Uniform and touring with the Native American Theater Group’s Mystic Voices. Most recently she performed in Urban Rez with the Cornerstone Theater Company, directed by Michael Garces, written by Larissa Fasthorse. Her film work includes Oliver Stone’s U-Turn (for which she was honored with a Best Supporting Actress Award from First Americans in the Arts), Naturally Native, Secondhand Heart and most recently the action feature, Mohawk. Her television performances include House, TNT’s Crazy Horse, PBS’s Coyote Waits and NBC’s comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller; produced by Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, David Miner and Jeff Richmond. Sheri is the first native American to be considered for The EMMY for her role as Fern White. She provided narration for the Emmy-nominated Great Performances PBS special featuring the American Indian Dance Theater. Wild Indian, written and directed by Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr., cast Sheri as Lisa Wolf in his drama. Sheri is most honored to have worked on Rutherford Falls with native writer and producer, Sierra Teller Ornelas. Mrs. Foster Blake just finished shooting a Duplass Brothers Production, Allies, directed by Barrett O’Brien. She voiced several characters on The Adventures of Super Indian, by Arigon Star She served on the board directors of the American Indian Registry founded by Will Sampson and was a founding Trustee of The First American in the Arts. Mrs. Foster Blake’s directing debut was The Dawes Commission by the late Bob Hicks. Sheri lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Academy nominated make-up artist, John Blake.
CARA JADE MYERS (Kiowa/Wichita)
Cara Jade Myers is a Native American actress/writer living in Los Angeles, CA. It was just announced that Cara has been cast in Martin Scorsese’s newest film ‘Killer of the Flower Moon’. In 2019 she was a fellow in the 4th Annual Native American TV Writers Program where she developed a TV pilot from pitch to 3rd draft. That same year, she was a semi-finalist in the ABC/Disney writers’ program. In early 2020 Cara was among 12 selected as part of A3 Artists Agency’s program The Colony, creating a TV pilot that is now in the pre-production phase. For the last part of 2020 Cara was selected to be a fellow of the Native American Feature Film Writers Lab.
KIOWA GORDON (Hualapai Tribe)
Born in Berlin, Germany, his early life was spent on the Hualapai Reservation, learning his mother’s culture, with his 7 siblings. Everything changed in late 2008. While living in Cave Creek, AZ and attending Sunday school, he was approached by Stephenie Meyer to audition for the second film in the adaptation of her book series, The Twilight Saga. He got the role. While he wanted to pursue playing music, he was plucked from obscurity and thrust into a phenomenal film franchise that jump-started his career in the entertainment industry. Kiowa has gone on to work on numerous film and television projects for the past 12 years. He won the best supporting actor award at the 2013 American Indian Film Festival for his work in The Lesser Blessed. In 2013 he started work on the Sundance TV series, The Red Road, with Jason Momoa and Tom Sizemore. In April of 2020, his horror film, Blood Quantum, was released exclusively on Shudder due to the movie theaters being shuttered. He now resides in Studio City, CA gearing up for the next adventure.
MARTIN SENSMEIER (Koyukon-Athabascan)
Martin Sensmeier is an American Actor and Producer from the Alaskan Native Tribes, Tlingit as well as Koyukon-Athabascan. He was raised in the village of Yakutat, Alaska. He is best known for his roles in The Magnificent Seven, Wind River, Yellowstone and Westworld.
Cara Jade Myers
IAN SKORODIN (Moderator)
About LA SKINS FEST
The Festival is an initiative of the Native American non-profit the Barcid Foundation and aims to showcase the rising talent in Native American filmmaking. This year the LA SKINS FEST is expanding the screening series to accommodate the growing talent in Indian Country.
The prestigious LA SKINS FEST ranks among the country’s best film festivals and is an annual gathering for film industry insiders, cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers, and critics. The LA Skins Fest is considered a major launching ground for Indian Country’s most talked about films. Founded in 2007, the Los Angeles Skins Fest, presented in the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, is a 6-day multicultural event celebrating the art of film, TV and new media. The Los Angeles Skins Fest’s long-standing commitment is to join filmmakers and film connoisseurs together to experience great cinema. The exciting schedule consists of dozens of filmmakers presenting their newest works, special artist development programs, tributes to community leaders, special events, and remarkable films. Festival headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA.
About the SCA Council on Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity, inclusion and respect of differences, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identities, sexual orientation, and disability, are foundational tenets of the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). SCA is an internationally recognized institution and a leader in the fields of cinematic arts, games, emergent media forms and media scholarship. While entertainment industries including film, television and interactive media have deep histories in progressive social politics, current cultural discussions about the state of mainstream media industries indicate that much work needs to be done to challenge and change existing paradigms around power, privilege and inclusion. Recognized as a pipeline to the media industries and graduate media programs, SCA is uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in preparing the next generation of media producers and scholars to critically engage with issues of diversity and build inclusive creative and scholarly communities within media industries and academia. SCA embraces this opportunity to influence the wider community of media creators and scholars. In 2016 SCA formed the Council for Diversity & Inclusion to address how our community can foster a more inclusive environment.
USC is located in one of our nation’s most vibrant and diverse cities, and we recognize the need for our institution to reflect the complex and multifaceted richness of our surrounding communities in terms of students, staff, faculty and community partners. SCA is committed to cultivating a diverse and inclusive learning environment at all institutional levels. We promote diversity and inclusion in the recruitment and training of all faculty members and believe that celebrating diversity within our student population will open critical and constructive dialogues about difference that enhance our creative and scholarly work. We also understand that support staff play a vital role in the SCA community and, therefore, the same attention needs to be paid to diversity among staff members. We define diversity to include age, race, ethnicity, physical ability, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, country of origin, veteran status, religious practice, and political ideology. SCA seeks to weave a philosophy of inclusion and respect for difference into the fabric of our community; take a leadership role in areas of diversity and inclusion across the university; and establish a model for media industries to empower different voices and perspectives.
Learn more at: http://cinema.usc.edu/Diversity
This program is generously sponsored by
For more information about upcoming programming and events offered by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, please visit their website.