LOS ANGELES – Native American Media Alliance, in partnership with WarnerMedia and the Cherokee Nation Film Office, has selected the cohort for its second annual Native American Writers Seminar that includes two Cherokee Nation citizens.
The month-long, intensive program provides mentoring support and workshops, as well as fellowship prep.
Rory Crittenden, of Tulsa, is a filmmaker, screenwriter and Heartland Emmy-winning producer and a Heartland Emmy-nominated director. He applied to the program to improve his skills.
Crittenden’s past work includes “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People” as a producer. He is now a freelance filmmaker helping create content for various Indigenous TV programs including a Canadian documentary series call “Warrior Up!”
“It’s a program that follows young Indigenous people doing good things in their communities and highlighting those people in those communities. This year they learned about the Removal riders, the all-female team this year,” he said.
Crittenden said his goal is to become a narrative filmmaker and that opportunities like the seminar will help him get there.
“I just hope that I can become a screenwriter, a story teller, finish the script, get in a good place and then carry those things to maybe the next script or the next one. The thing is to just keep going and get better,” he said.
He is also a contributor for a documentary series called “Indigenous Cuisine” and is currently producing and directing a documentary about his paternal grandfather.
Vanessa Lillie, of Providence, Rhode Island, is a thriller fiction writer with three projects she has authored or co-authored. She said she is excited to connect with a creative community that includes other Native writers.
“For a lot of writers, particularly Native American and Indigenous, any time we can connect with our community in that way is just especially meaningful,” Lillie said. “And me not being in Oklahoma anymore, I appreciate that I am able to connect with other Cherokee writers and writers from other tribes and Indigenous backgrounds. It’s really meaningful for me to work with other storytellers who are Native American.”
As an author, her first book “Little Voices,” debuted in 2019 followed by “For the Best” in 2020. She then co-authored an Audible Original called “Young Rich Widows.”
For the seminar, Lillie is working on a new series of books, as well as a screen adaptation centered around the missing and murdered women, girls and two spirit movement.
“I have a contract now for this new series that will begin in northeastern Oklahoma where I am from and kind of centered on Native American stories and experiences starting with my own personal view,” she said.
She said she appreciates the support from the Native American community in helping Native writers.
“I’m very proud to represent our tribe and be able to tell these stories and connect with other people,” she said.
For more information, visit nama.media.