Cherokee Film Office staff at the inaugural Celebrating Indigenous Cinema reception highlighting Indigenous films and filmmakers.

TULSA, OK — Cherokee Nation and its film office are proudly celebrating the world premiere of “The Origin of Strawberries,” the first project of its kind to be designed, animated and produced at Cherokee Film Studios.

The groundbreaking production uses the latest motion capture innovations to depict an ancient story about reconciliation. The Cherokee language short film was created utilizing the tribe’s state-of-the-art soundstage technology, including motion and performance capture systems, real-time graphics in a game engine, and powerful content creation software. 

“Cherokee Nation is combining the incredible efforts of our first-language speakers with the use of emerging technology and unique content creation tools to help preserve and share our language,” said Jennifer Loren, senior director of Cherokee Film. “This proof-of-concept project is an excellent example of how state-of-the-art technology combined with a revolutionary workflow creates limitless opportunities for us to share our own stories in new and exciting ways.”

The tribal film recently debuted at the 2023 deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City. It was featured during the annual festival’s Future of Film, a showcase of films and experiences created using innovative technology, such as motion capture, drones, digital animation, augmented reality and fully immersive 360 virtual reality.

“Throughout the creation of this short film, we wanted to push the boundaries of creative freedom and the ability to experiment and try new things,” said Michael Lister, virtual production manager for the Cherokee Nation Film Office. “We accomplished this through innovations in our ability to work with motion and performance capture technologies and the use of virtual cameras in Unreal Engine. This allowed us to visualize and edit our content live, giving us a near final cut of our scenes before talent leaves the set.”    

CNFO also partnered with deadCenter Film to host the film festival’s inaugural Celebrating Indigenous Cinema reception highlighting Indigenous films and filmmakers. “Fancy Dance,” a Native project and Cherokee Nation Film Incentive recipient, received accolades for the Best Feature Film and Best Indigenous Film, while the film’s director, Erica Tremblay, was honored as a 2023 Film Icon.

Designated as an OSCAR®-Qualifying Festival for animated and live action shorts, the deadCenter Film Festival boasted an impressive slate of more than 150 films, including 16 Indigenous projects, during this month’s four-day event. The annual Oklahoma City event highlights diversity among filmmakers through specific categories, including Afro Cinema, Female Directors, 2SLGBTQ+ Filmmaker, First Time Director, Spanish Language and Oklahoma films, as well as a specific block dedicated to Indigenous films.

For more information about the Cherokee Nation Film Office, please visit Cherokee.Film.