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OPB Launches Production of Native American Multi-Media Documentary

OPB | Dec. 11, 2007 3:06 a.m. | Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 11:13 a.m.

Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with Painted Sky proudly announces a new documentary currently in production, FOR THE GENERATIONS: NATIVE AMERICAN STORY AND PERFORMANCE.

Part performance-based, part unblinking slice-of-life, the documentary will air in Spring 2009 and profile the behind-the-scenes stories of the artists and the endeavor by Painted Sky to bring together the all-star cast to one stage. The trials, obstacles, triumphs and foibles of this effort will be captured as it happens — weaving a narrative through the performances that will lend grit and personality to the beautiful artistry showcased.

Artists set to be profiled in the documentary include pop-diva, “Urban Indian,” Jana; soulful R&B crooner Jaynez, hip-hop poetess Wayquay, Painted Sky’s own Northstar dancers and a host of others. “These remarkable performers have the uncanny ability to transcend genres,” said OPB’s Sean Hutchinson, producer of the documentary. “Though they all weave their tribal heritage in-and-out of their music and dance, their performances have appeal that extends beyond what might be too easily classified as ‘Native American’ music.”

“Thanks to OPB and the other sponsors for providing an opportunity for a national audience to experience Native music, while getting a glimpse of the life and times of our artists,” said Arlie Neskahi co-president of Painted Sky Incorporated, Navajo Nation.

A grant from the Spirit Mountain Community fund, in part, has made the documentary possible. “As a tribal foundation, it is an honor to partner with Painted Sky and other funders to promote Native American arts and culture. As a terminated tribe, we know the value of honoring our culture to perpetuate our tribal history,” said Fund Director Shelley Hanson. Fund-raising efforts continue in hopes of bringing all the artists together for a benefit performance in 2008.

Much of the focus of the documentary will be centered on the outreach these performers do and their work with native youth. “A person like Jana really shines a light on a pathway to success and presents a model for kids by which they might become an artist or doctor or astronaut — whatever they can conceive for themselves — and not be daunted by some bleak odds,” Hutchinson said.

The FOR THE GENERATIONS Web site, which will be launched at a later date, will offer a social networking component to provide a forum for collaboration, appreciation and growth of contemporary Native American music and centuries of heritage. With so much of the Native tradition finding its basis in non-textual media, emergent Internet technologies provide a unique opportunity for archiving history, building community and leveraging the future by engaging youth in a safe and enriching online environment.

Additional support is provided by: University of Oregon; Portland State University’s Native American and Student and Community Center; Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; Native American Youth & Family Center; Native American Music Awards and the American Indian College Fund. In addition, The City of Portland (Tom Potter) and The State of Oregon (Kulongoski) have endorsed the project.

About OPB
OPB is the state’s most far-reaching and accessible media resource. OPB provides free access to programming for children and adults that gives voice to community, connects Oregon and its neighbors and illuminates a wider world. Every week, more than 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB’s Television, Radio and Internet services. As the hub of operations for the state’s Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. OPB is one of the largest producers and presenters of national television programming through PBS, and is also a member station of NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is opb.org.

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