TAHLEQUAH, Okla.— Cherokee Nation Film Office is helping develop Native talent in the film and television industry by offering 50 new scholarships for certification courses with the Oklahoma Film & TV Academy.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announced the scholarship opportunities at the inaugural Drive-In Movie Nights, hosted during the 68th annual Cherokee National Holiday. Drive-in Movie Nights are one of only two events that were held in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to increasing the presence of Cherokees at every level in the television and film industry, and these scholarships will play a vital role in that effort,” Hoskin said. “More content is being consumed than ever before and the industry is looking for new areas to expand. We want them to know that Cherokee Nation has everything they need to make it happen, including a talented, trained and driven workforce.”

Scholarships are offered to citizens of any federally recognized tribe with preference given to Cherokee Nation citizens interested in pursuing the Film Crew 101 certification with the Oklahoma Film & TV Academy. The self-guided online program is delivered through a series of podcasts that offer an in-depth look at the different roles on a film or TV set and what they do. It’s a great first step to getting in the film and TV industry.

In addition to the scholarships, CNFO is also sponsoring a portion of the series.

“By working with organizations like the Oklahoma Film & TV Academy, we’re able to help facilitate vital training and education necessary for individuals interested in this thriving industry,” said Jennifer Loren, director of CNFO. “Our hope is that by increasing the representation of Natives throughout this industry, we will also help reshape the way our stories and our people are portrayed. Anything we can do to promote accurate and authentic storytelling is in our best interest and the best interest of Indian Country as a whole.”

This isn’t the first time the film office has utilized education initiatives to further its mission. In August CNFO sponsored 10 full scholarships to the Center for Poets & Writers Fall Workshop Series at OSU-Tulsa. Film courses included Writing for the Screen and Motion Picture Storytelling.

“Whether it is in front of the camera, behind the camera, in the board rooms, writing the scripts or designing the sets, there really is a place for every talent and interest,” Loren said. “We couldn’t be more excited to help advance Native talent in this industry and look forward to the impact it will have throughout our state as a champion for economic growth.”

For more information about the Film Crew 101 certification and to apply for the CNFO scholarship, please visit cherokee.film/scholarships/.