(2008, 15 mins.)
Story: Rhett Lynch
Writers/Directors: Creative Spirit NM Class of 2008
Supervising Producer: Tony Estrada
Mentor: Thom Eberhardt
Executive Producers: Marjorie Neset and James Lujan
Cast: Cameron Martinez, River Shields, Autumn Shields, Valerie Prue, Gil Whitlock, Neil Faulconbridge, Eduardo Flores
Onscreen: While playing the part of a stereotypical Indian for a History Channel documentary, a Native American actor wanders astray and finds himself stranded in the woods with a couple of lost children.
Offscreen: This was the first and only time that Creative Spirit developed a short script from scratch. "For the New Mexico program, we decided to do it a little differently," explains Exec Producer James Lujan. "We offered what was essentially a six week workshop where a project would be developed from script to screen. We started out with fifteen participants, and for the first session we asked them each to pitch a story idea. The class voted on the best idea which
turned out to be a pitch from participant Rhett Lynch about an Indian family and a white family lost in the woods. From that starting point, the students contributed more story ideas which were shaped and structured by mentors Estrada and Eberhardt (which is why there is no writer's profile at the bottom of this page), and eventually evolved into a story about Edgar, a clueless Indian actor."
After the script was finalized, the production itself encountered a number of challenges. First of all, the length of the workshop proved difficult for most of the young participants to commit or sustain interest, and, as a result, the workshop lost nearly two-thirds of its numbers, dwindling down to a core group of six. "We knew going in that this might be a problem," Lujan says. "We were debating whether to charge them or pay them to secure their commitment to the workshop. Ultimately, we decided to offer it for free, which, in retrospect, probably wasn't the best course of action." To compensate for the loss of participants, supervising producer Estrada hired experienced colleagues to fill needed crew positions. Unfortunately, this caused the production to go over budget, but the advantage for the remaining core six (Bryanna Antone, Branson Benally, Kim Gleason, Angela Koenen, Lane Samuel, Carmen Tsabetsaye) was that they became the focus of the training, and each received a key responsibility with Antone, Benally, Gleason and Samuel each directing a segment of the film, Koenen producing and Tsabetsaye serving as 1st AD.
Film Festivals: 2008 Two Worlds Festival of Native Film, 2009 Taos Shortz Film Festival (Honorable Mention), 2010 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase, 2010 Native Punx Short Films, 2010 Dreamspeakers Film Festival, 2011 Bellevue College American Indian Film Festival