The 4th World Media Lab is a year-long fellowship for emerging and mid-career Indigenous filmmakers, providing opportunities to develop filmmaking skills and networks through festival participation, hands-on training, masterclasses, workshopping projects in development, pitch activities, and meetings with funders and other industry decision-makers. Fellowship activities take place February through May 2023 at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and at Camden International Film Festival (CIFF), The program is a collaborative partnership between the festivals and Nia Tero, a U.S.-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide. At Big Sky, fellows will attend the DocShop filmmaker’s forum, Indigenous filmmaker screenings and events, and a private seminar with leaders in the Indigenous filmmaking community and the film industry at large. The Seattle experience, in partnership with Nia Tero, offers industry master classes, hands-on training and global networking in the SIFF urban festival atmosphere. The Points North Institute in Camden provides a vast network of peer and industry mentors and resources at CIFF, including access to the Points North Forum and opportunities for one-on-one connections with future collaborators and funders.
Fellows will receive a $10,000 artist development grant from the Nia Tero Foundation as well as travel support and all access passes to all three festivals.
4th World is a concept that was shared by a Coast Salish elder. It is the story about a time when the environment and the earth are suffering, and Indigenous storytelling functions as the medicine to create healing. The 4th World Media Lab experience has been designed to uplift Indigenous voices and perspectives through artist fellowship, immersion in industry events and Indigenous project development as we collectively envision a future more whole.
Haudenosaunee (Mohawk / Oneida) | Nevada
Paige Bethmann is a Haudenosaunee director and producer based in Reno, Nevada. Over the last 10 years, Paige has worked in non-fiction television for various digital and broadcast networks such as ESPN, PBS, Vox Media, Youtube Originals, USA and NBC. As a filmmaker, Paige has been supported by the Logan Non-Fiction Fellowship Program and 2022 PGA Create fellowship. Her debut feature film, ‘Remaining Native,’ has also been supported by the IDA Logan Elevate Grant, Tracksmith, the Points North + CNN Films American Stories fellowship program, Perspective Fund, and Running Strong for American Indian Youth . A graduate of Ithaca College, Paige has a bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Radio from the Park School of Communications. Remaining Native will be her directorial debut.
Diné (Navajo) | California
Fritz Bitsoie is an award-winning Diné/Navajo filmmaker based out of Oakland, Ca. His recent film, The Trails Before Us was featured at numerous film festivals across the nation. Including SXSW, SFFilm, Seattle International, Mountain Film, AIFF, and Big Sky Doc Film Festival where it took home the award for, Best Artistic Vision. It was also an official selection for the Native Film Showcase for the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, Fritz is an alumni of the University of New Mexico that grew up on the Navajo Nation. Self-described as a film geek at heart that grew up on sci-fi/horror and martial-arts VHS films, he loves to incorporate elements from genre films to focus on stories that explore themes of cultural significance within the experience of the modern Native American.
Tama Descent / Mestizo | Florida / Colombia
Jonathan Luna is a land defender and community organizer based in La Jagua, Huila, Colombia. Over the last sixteen years they have held many roles, including as a cultural worker, educator, researcher, farmer and interpreter/translator. They have been a member of the arts activist group the Beehive Design Collective since 2002, and a co-founder of the Polinizaciones process since 2008. Within La Jagua, Luna is co-founder and member of the community association “Jaguos por el Territorio,” focused on the intersection of environmental justice and art. Since 2007, they have accompanied, co-created, coordinated, and implemented different processes of wildlife monitoring, ecological restoration, popular education, audio visual creation, permaculture, performance art skills building & non-violent direct actions with rural communities impacted by resource extraction projects—mostly Indigenous communities throughout Colombia and in Zulia, Venezuela. As of late 2019, Luna has been coordinating the development and production of the macro project for traditional Wayuu tattoo revitalization: taking form through the documentary feature, a series of gatherings, multimedia production, and a regional impact tour.
Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw | British Columbia
Ritchie Hemphill grew up on Tsulquate reserve and was raised by his community, the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw people. He is currently living on Coast Salish territory on Vancouver Island, Canada. Ritchie is both a filmmaker and a musician, working to create art that is healing for himself and for his people. In 2015, Ritchie co-founded the award winning stop motion animation studio Bronfree Films with his film partner Ryan Haché, and have since produced a number of short films that include Indigenous legends, language revitalization and Elder storytelling. Ritchie and his studio have been successfully supported through numerous arts grants including funding from Telus Storyhive (2018), Canada Council for the Arts (2019), and First Peoples Cultural Council (2020). In addition to its Official Selection status in film festivals worldwide, Bronfree Films’ short film “Məca” won the Indigenous Language Production Award from imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2022), and was nominated for Best Animated Short at the American Indian Film Festival (2022). Ritchie’s goal is to render his people’s traditional stories in a beautiful light through his films.
Standing Rock Sioux | California
Adreanna is a Lakota/Chicana artist based in Oakland, CA. As a storyteller, her research, writing, and filmmaking revolve around issues of social/climate justice for Indigenous communities, as well as femme stories. She is currently working as an audio audio producer for VICE Media. Adreanna has directed and produced her first short documentary film about female pastoralists from the Maasia tribe who document the impact of climate change through the use of participatory photography. She holds a M.A. in Visual Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies from the Maine College of Art.
Cherokee Nation / Kiowa Tribe | Oklahoma
Award-winning filmmaker Loren Waters is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe. Loren’s work aims to center environmental knowledge and culture revitalization through storytelling. She currently works as an Outreach Producer for Nia Tero’s Kin Theory Initiative and as a freelance Background Casting Director. In prior years, Loren worked for the Cherokee Nation Film Office, and the documentary-style television show, Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People. She recently received the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation LIFT Award, while participating in fellowships such as 2021 Warner Media Bootcamp and the Intercultural Leadership Institute Year 4. Previously, Loren was a Line Producer on the 2022 Sundance Film Festival selected short ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught). This film is part of the Reciprocity Project by Nia Tero at Upstander Project. She’s also worked on projects such as Seasons 1 and 2 of Reservation Dogs, Fancy Dance (2023) and the Martin Scorsese directed feature film, Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). Currently, she is in production with a short film titled, ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ (Meet Me at the Creek) set to release in late 2023. Her first short documentary, Restoring Néške'emāne (2021), screened at festivals such as Hawaii International Film Festival, deadCenter Film Festival, and Cucalorus. The film won Best Short Documentary at North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival and Honorable Mention at Tallgrass Film Festival.
2015: STEVEN PAUL JUDD | KHALIL HUDSON | MELISSA WOODROW | SUSAN BALBAS | DALLAS PINKHAM | PESHAWN BREAD | PAUL COLLINS | LULU DEBOER | GISELLA BUSTILLOS
2017: JUSTIN DEEGAN | RENA PRIEST | KYLE BELL | RAZELLE BENALLY | DANIEL HYDE | LELA CHILDS | RACHEL PLENTY WOLF | SAVANNA THUNDER
2018: RAZELLE BENALLY (Oglala/Diné) | RAMONA EMERSON (Diné) | LEYA HALE (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota/Diné) | ALEX LAZAROWICH (Cree) | IVY MACDONALD (Blackfeet) | CHRISTEN MARQUEZ (Native Hawaiian) | COURTNEY MONTOUR (Mohawk) | ALYCIA ORTIZ (Miwok) | DEIDRA PEACHES (Diné) | COLLEEN THURSTON (Choctaw) | SHAANDIIN TOME (Diné)
2019: TAYLOR HENSEL (Cherokee Nation) | LEO KEAHNA (White Earth Anishinaabe and Meskawaki) | IVAN MACDONALD (Blackfeet) | IVY MACDONALD (Blackfeet) | COURTNEY MONTOUR (Mohawk, Kahnawake) | JJ NEEPIN (Cree) | EVELYN PAKINEWATIK (Nipissing First Nation, Ojibwe) | RAVEN TWO FEATHERS (Cherokee, Seneca, Cayuga, and Comanche)
2020: JUSTIN AH CHONG (Kanaka Maoli, Native Hawaiian) | CHAD CHARLIE (Ahousaht First Nation) | EMILY COHEN IBAÑEZ (LatinX, Columbian-American) | GEORGIANNA LEPPING (Soloman Islander) | REGINA LEPPING (Solomon Islander) | ALEX SALLEE (Iñupiaq) | ASHLEY SOLIS (Nahua and Chicana) | ASIA YOUNGMAN (Cree, Métis and Haudenosaunee)
2021-2022: AJUAWAK KAPESHESIT (White Earth Ojibwe descendant Waskaganish Cree Enrolled member) | BRIT HENSEL (Cherokee Nation) | ERIN LAU (Native Hawaiian) | MORNINGSTAR ANGELINE (Navajo, Chippewa Cree, Blackfeet, Shoshone and Latinx) | LUCÍA ORTEGA TOLEDO (Zapotec) | THEOLA ROSS (Cree Treaty 5, Pimicikamak Cree Nation-Cross Lake)
MAJOR SUPPORT FOR THE 4TH WORLD MEDIA LAB PROVIDED BY:
Great thanks to the 4th World collective and program partners: