NYWIFT Talks: Changing Our Narrative: Indigenous Voices Rising

Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 and current events on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 

NYWIFT Talks are free for all to attend.

In this week’s virtual NYWIFT Talks, we are honoring Indigenous Heritage Month with creators in the industry paving the way to visibility and equality. What has Hollywood done to respectfully represent Indigenous people, and how are these groups of writers, directors, and showrunners creating the change? How did they overcome their obstacles within the industry? And what work still needs to be accomplished?

In conversation with Jhane MyersYvonne Russo, Brooke Swaney, and Jesse Short Bull. Moderated by Simon Moya-Smith.

Date: Friday, November 11, 2022
Time: 5 PM ET
Cost: Free




Jhane Myers (Producer) is an Emmy award winning filmmaker, Sundance Alumni, and member of the Comanche nation recognized for her passion and dedication to films surrounding the Comanche and Blackfeet nations and preserving the legacies of the Native communities. She has established herself as a vital cultural and community resource for Native-content projects produced by the networks and studios, which over the years have included: “Prey” (20th Century/Disney) “1883” (Paramount); “The Wilds” (Amazon); “Monsters of God” (Plan B/TNT); “Magnificent Seven”  (MGM/Columbia Pictures); “Wind River” (Weinstein Co.); “The Lone Ranger” (Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films); and “Apocalypto” (Icon Ent./Touchstone).

Yvonne Russo is an award-winning producer, director, and writer of film and television specializing in inspirational Indigenous and cross-cultural stories. As an independent producer, Russo has worked on a diverse range of productions in over 16 countries from Rajasthan, India, to the East African Nation of Rwanda. She is currently directing, Ring of Fire: The Life of Annie Mae Aquash and currently in post-production on VIVA VERDI!. Recent credits include Woman Walks Ahead, the HBO mini-series, Lewis and Clark and Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust. She’s a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Co-Chair of the Producers Guild of America Diversity Committee. She is also a Sundance Institute Lab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Program Fellow and is on the board of The Language Conservancy, which works to revitalize endangered languages. She’s a contributing author for The Huffington Post and Produced By Magazine. Yvonne Russo is a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribal Nation.

Brooke Pepion Swaney is Bitterroot Salish and Blackfeet. She works to tell Indigenous stories and stories from other marginalized communities. Daughter of a Lost Bird (PBS/America ReFramed) is her first feature documentary. Most recently and notably, she made the Blacklist’s Inaugural Indigenous List with a half-hour comedy Tinder on the Rez along with her co-writer Angela Tucker. She is in post-production on a short documentary about Blackfeet actress Lily Gladstone (PBS/American Masters & Firelight Media). She also produced Bella Vista  (Rotterdam), Sixty Four Flood (PBS & PBS Digital) and the first season of the podcast All My Relations with Matika Wilbur and Dr. Adrienne Keene. She’s received fellowships from Woodstock/White Feather Arts, Sundance/Time Warner, Chicken & Egg: Project Hatched, Wyncote, and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. She teaches screenwriting at the Institute of American Indian Arts, holds an MFA in Film from NYU and lives and works in her homelands.

Director Jesse Short Bull wrote and produced the 2013 short Istinma, set in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Short Bull received a 2016 Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program Development Grant and also attended the Creative Producing Summit at Sundance. In 2014 he was part of the effort to change the name of Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota. Currently employed by the Oglala Lakota tribal government, Short Bull is a member of the board of the Black Hills Film Festival. With the First Peoples Fund he leads youth filmmaking workshops in the Oglala Lakota Nation. 

Simon Moya-Smith (moderator) is an Oglala Lakota and Chicano writer and journalist. Formerly a staff writer with The Denver Post, Moya-Smith has since contributed to MTV, CNN, VICE, USA TODAY, and NPR among others. He has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in Ethnic Studies, from the University of Colorado Denver. Currently, Moya-Smith is a contributing writer with NBC News as well as an adjunct professor of journalism and new media. His new book, Your Spirit Animal is a Jackass, will be available in 2021.

November 11 @ 5:00pm
5:00 pm — 6:00 pm (1h)

This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.

We encourage you to download and create a Zoom account in advance.




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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.