Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed or even paused some projects, our Cherokee Nation Film Office and award-winning “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People“ have continued making big strides. Our growing presence in the film industry makes sure that Cherokees are able to tell our authentic Cherokee stories and represent our strong culture to the wider world. We are also creating good jobs for many skilled and creative Cherokees.
Despite challenges in conducting on-location shoots and interviews, OsiyoTV has stayed right on schedule. I’m proud to announce our all-new sixth season will begin airing October 1. If you’re not able to watch OsiyoTV broadcasts in your area, you can stream it anytime. All of the episodes from the past five seasons are available now on www.osiyo.tv. New episodes will also be available online each Thursday, before airing on regional television stations.
Not only has OsiyoTV been hard at work producing the new season, the show recently earned four Heartland Regional Emmys. Please join me in acknowledging this achievement, which brings the total to nine altogether in the series’ history.
The inaugural Drive-In Movie Nights during Cherokee National Holiday were a huge success. Many thanks to our film office for coordinating the event. Every detail was perfect, right down to the mini clapboards and chalk that attendees received. How fun it was to watch an all-Native slate of films with other Cherokees and to hear such enthusiastic applause after each one. I’m extremely proud of the work our film office is doing to bring Cherokee stories and Native talent to the forefront of the media industry.
Across the globe, more entertainment content is being consumed than ever before and productions are looking for places to film, along with the crew to make it happen. Oklahoma is one of the most desirable states for these efforts because of state incentives, and our CNFO is helping film and television producers understand all that Cherokee Nation has to offer. We are opening doors for Native people to work locally in the industry in all types of positions, from on-screen talent to behind-the-scenes crew.
In a groundbreaking move, CNFO has created the first database of Native American cast, crew and film-friendly businesses for productions to not only use Native talent, but to tell stories with authenticity. The film office serves as a liaison between productions, talent and crew, as well as writers and cultural consultants. They also serve as location scouts, helping productions find the perfect places to tell their stories, using our unique locations here in northeast Oklahoma as a backdrop.
I encourage you to sign up for CNFO’s databases of cast, crew and talent on www.cherokee.film if you are interested in working in the film production industry. This gets your name out there and lets productions know you are available and would like to be hired.
If you need basic industry training to get started, CNFO has partnered with the Oklahoma Film & TV Academy to offer 50 new scholarships for certification courses. These scholarships are for 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. It’s a self-guided online program, delivered through a series of podcasts that offer an in-depth look at the different roles on a film or TV set. It’s a great first step to getting into the film and TV industry. Applications are starting to roll in, so please don’t wait if you want to get in on this opportunity.
Nationally, the film industry is looking for new areas to expand. This is one of the most promising, rapidly growing industries for Oklahoma. Cherokee Nation has everything to be successful in the industry, with our strong culture, diverse locations, and our talented, trained and driven workforce. CNFO is connecting Cherokee talent with the training and investment they need to tell our stories, and that benefits all of our citizens in the long run.
Chuck Hoskin Jr.