Rural Alaskan Youth Present Films at Alaska Native Film Festival

A group of dedicated teenagers and young adults in the rural community of Nikolai, Alaska gathered together for a week in June 2011 to craft short ethnographic films about their lives and community. They interviewed youth and elders, developed scripts, and spliced together films on topics ranging from pike fishing to traditional medicine and teenage motherhood, all subjects deeply connected to their community of 90 on the Kuskokwim River.

Now two youth filmmakers, Dante Esai and Joricha Thomas, have been chosen to present their films The Medicine of Nikolai and My Motherhood at the Alaska Native Film Festival this Sunday the 16th from 1 – 6 pm at the Anchorage Museum.

The Medicine of Nikolai by Dante Esai:

My Motherhood by Joricha Thomas

Two non-profits, Media Action and Atheneum School collaboratively planned and led this film workshop with generous grant funding from the AK Humanities Forum and the Doyon Foundation.  Atheneum has worked on a variety of arts and education projects in Nikolai for the past 5 years, and Media Action has led film workshops with youth from Nikolai for the past two years.

In July of 2010 the youth of Nikolai created a 15 minutes film Portrait of Nikolai that won an honorable mention in the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Filmmaker Joricha Thomas sums her experience up: “my future for film making is growing. This experience… has inspired me to continue to make films.”

More details on the Alaska Native film festival from are avaliable here.

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Media Action is an organization devoted to empowering youth and communities to share their stories through media production and education. They utilize cutting edge technologies and research-based best practices to provide communities with the skills and opportunities to share their stories and issues via media in order to both provide technological access for participants and to foster global awareness and action. Media Action specializes in film workshops, media production and training, and community collaborations. A team of expert filmmakers, educators, and media producers carries out their work.