Albuquerque

Navajo filmmaker aims to build up new generation of Indigenous storytellers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021-06-24 08:30:00 –

Albuquerque, New Mexico (KRQE) – Ramona Emerson has told a story throughout her life. As a Navajo woman, she says that telling a story lies in her blood and heritage. She has been making films for over 20 years, telling stories of the community and now helping train the next generation of indigenous storytellers.


She grew up in Tohatchie Navajo Nation, Near the Arizona border.Emerson chose to attend University of New Mexico For a variety of reasons, the most important thing is to be close to your family and to have the opportunity to attend the same university where your grandmother and mother graduated.

When she started school, Emerson’s favorite major didn’t exist. The film program was created later, and she was part of the first cohort to attend. “I’ve always loved movies and I’ve always been a movie fan. That’s what I share with my family. Grandma, mom, everyone loved movies and made up a lot of their lives, so the lines of the movie I remember going to the movies millions of times, and that was just one of those things in my life, “Emmerson said.

Growing up, she didn’t think she could be a filmmaker because she lacked the money and experience and was mostly dominated by men at the time. “When I saw a little girl, a little Navajo girl in Lesbian, or playing with her mother doing her art, I knew I had no way to be a filmmaker. “Emmerson said. “There was no female director. There was nothing like that at the time. I thought it was out of reach.”

She made a film for one of her high school retired staff as a sophomore and said she’s been completely absorbed in filmmaking ever since. Emerson read a book you can get about movies. When she graduated from UNM, her grandmother bought her a video camera.

Emerson recorded a conversation with her grandmother and began her career as a documentary filmmaker. “Since she’s gone, I can go back and listen to what she said. So I realized the importance of movies and documentation. It archives history and may not be remembered without videos and photos. We will archive the stories that may not be possible, “Emerson said.

Since then, Emerson has worked on numerous projects as a cinematographer, writer and editor through her and her husband’s production company, Lille Indian Pictures. She received a Creative Writing MFA from the Native American Arts Institute in 2015. She is a Native Lab Fellow of Sundance, a Time Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All Access Granty, and a WGBH Producer Fellow.

Now she is incorporating those skills and experiences to help the next generation of indigenous filmmakers learn how to tell their stories. “I always talk about how you talk about your hometown and the problematic issues behind the outsiders coming to talk in our community. I wanted to take a walk. “Emmerson said.

She is currently working with PBS’s Vision Maker to hold a workshop that teaches how to fund the project. “I want them to know that getting funding from PBS and talking about them is absolutely within their reach,” Emerson said. “That’s the way to change the story. You give them money, you give them the tools to tell these stories, and you take a step back and make it happen.”

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