Meet the Confluence Filmmaker Fellows
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Seven talented Indigenous storytellers have been named Confluence Filmmaker Fellows, as the nonprofit Confluence launches its inaugural program to showcase emerging Native visual artists. Thanks to a generous grant from Oregon Film, Confluence is able to support Indigenous filmmakers in achieving their visions through cash prizes and new film equipment to take their craft to the next level. Last spring, Confluence put out a call for submissions and received proposals from many creative and thoughtful filmmakers! Throughout the year, Confluence and our Judging Committee will meet with the Fellows to provide mentorship opportunities, culminating in a film screening and celebration in Spring 2024.
Three Indigenous video artists received cash prizes to support a film project they are developing: one for $5,000 and two for $2,500. Three other Emerging Indigenous Filmmakers received full camera kits (or alternative equipment) to take their craft to the next level. And a third category, the Spotlight Award, highlights an up and coming youth filmmaker.
Read more about the Fellows below!
$5,000 Fellowship: Alana Tiikpuu Walker
Alana Tiikpuu Walker is a non-binary Nez Perce and Navajo writer and director from Lapwai, Idaho. They are a graduate from the Institute of American Indian Arts where they majored in Cinematic Arts Technology. While attending IAIA they received an award for best Broadcast Production for their short film on the Standing Rock protests. After graduating from IAIA, Alana went on to become a fellow of the LA Skins Fest Animation lab, and a mentee of the Netflix Animation Foundations. Alana currently works as the Audio and Video Technician for the Nez Perce Tribe’s Enterprise, and they currently are working on animating traditional stories of the Nez Perce tribe.
Marcos Alatorre, aka Mac Savage, is an aspiring Native American filmmaker with a deep passion for storytelling and a strong commitment to preserving the culture, history and traditions of his people. Hailing from the Klamath Tribes, which is located in southern Oregon, Marcos’s cultural background has heavily influenced his artistic journey into filmmaking. As a lifelong resident of the beautiful city of Roses, Portland, Oregon, Marcos has acquired a unique perspective that allows him to see the world through the dual lenses of both the city life and through his Klamath Tribal heritage. For Marcos, every story he tells is inherently a Native story—a reflection of his identity as a Native person. Whether delving into the mysteries of Bigfoot or exploring the cosmic realm of the universe, his projects are heavily influenced by his deep ancestral roots. With over 50 videos on his youtube channel ranging from hip hop music videos to traditional storytelling videos, Marcos pushes the boundaries of his creativity, embracing the challenge of trying new things and always thinking outside the box. His unwavering commitment to learning is evident in every video he produces, as he constantly seeks to expand and acquire new life and filmmaking skills.
Lofanitani is a Black Indigenous woman who is Tongan, Modoc, Tahlequah Cherokee, and Klamath. Lofanitani unapologetically centers joy, power, and futurism in her work. Lofanitani was raised in Oregon both rural on her Klamath reservation in Chiloquin and urban in Portland. From making movies on her flip phone as a youth documenting life on the reservation, to now where she recently created an award-winning short film called Lwelek Honk Sa (2021), Lofanitani has always been a storyteller. Her short film Lwelek Honk Sa (2021) is a Rez Dogs meets Goonies adventure short film that is set Klamath/Modoc ancestral homelands and features an all Black Indigenous cast. Some of the themes in the film include sovereignty, perseverance and intergenerational knowledge. Lofanitani navigates her experiences through art as a Black Indigenous woman to create space for others to also navigate intersectionality and stand in their power. As social media and content creation have developed over the past few years, Lofanitani has found opportunities to put herself and her voice out there for the elevation and visibility of all of her communities. In navigating through the early COVID pandemic, Lofanitani also found power through storytelling in the digital space on platforms such as TikTok and now has a fast-growing social media presence across multiple platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. (@Lofanitani)
Daisy Sue Minthorn is Cayuse/Palouse, an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation of Washington, and a lifelong resident of Pendleton, Oregon where she currently works for the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. In addition to museum work, Daisy has an extensive professional tribal work history including working as a government contractor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a Realty Specialist, in tribal lending, low-income housing, and communications. Daisy has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology/Sociology with a minor in Writing from Eastern Oregon University and is a current graduate student at the University of Oklahoma in the Museum Studies program. Daisy is new to filmmaking but has always appreciated the genre and is excited to start learning the craft and creating videos that showcase the beauty of our usual and accustomed homelands.
Melissa Calliou is a storyteller, a First Nations Cree from Northern Alberta, Canada who takes pride in her Culture, teachings and traditions. She currently resides in the state of Washington pursuing her degree through her academics. Her passion is writing film and is an emerging Filmmaker. Also, she is published author who published two screenplays in hopes that one day will be screened or played in theatrical plays. Documentary and short films are her favorite, however, she is open to expanding more of her work in the near future.
“Sharing non fictional stories gives a space for our Indigenous people to have their voices heard.” – Melissa Calliou
Born in Austin, Texas, Littlebear Sanchez (Lipan Apache & Mexican) is a Two-Spirit filmmaker and the founder of Wild Butterfly Films. With experience in producing short films, documentary, and experimental films, Their focus is creating impactful storytelling with a diverse cast and crew, while specifically highlighting the voices and experiences of indigenous communities.
Youth Spotlight Award: Joaquin Trujillo
Joaquin Trujillo is a Chicano/Indigenous Videographer and Photographer from Portland Oregon. Back in May 2020, Joaquin released a short film titled “Promised Goods” that was Nominated for an Upcoming Filmmaker Award at the LA SKINS Film Festival in Los Angeles. Of recent, Joaquin has been doing local video work in the underground DIY music scene for bands such as Rhododendron, Twistur, Kill Michael, Etc.