Native Film Archive Project (Working Title)
Native Film Archive Project (Working Title) aims to address the lack of an archival culture in Indigenous communities, resulting in the displacement of Indigenous film history. Despite being early creators and actors in cinema, Indigenous people have not traditionally followed the same practices of collecting and categorizing cultural items as settler-colonizers. As a result, many historical films have been lost. This digital archive for American Indian-made films will serve as an interactive platform, a reference point, and a curatorial space for Indigenous films, categorizing those available online and in physical archives. By celebrating Indigenous film history and ensuring that Indigenous films are no longer lost, this project is an act of reclamation and visual sovereignty.
Colleen Thurston received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Colleen Thurston is a filmmaker, curator and educator from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Colleen has produced for the Smithsonian Channel, Vox, illumiNATIVE and museums, public television stations, and federal and tribal organizations. Her work has been supported by ITVS, Vision Maker Media, Firelight Media, Nia Tero, NEH, the Redford Center, Patagonia and the Sundance Institute, screened at international film festivals and the Smithsonian Institution, and been broadcast nationwide. Colleen has served as the co-Executive Director of the Fayetteville Film Festival, the Film Programming Assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the founding Director of Programming of Tulsa American Film Festival and is currently a programmer for Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Make Believe Film Festival. She has curated film programs for the Momentary (Bentonville, AR), SWAIA’s Native Cinema Showcase (Santa Fe, NM), UCLA Film and Television Archive (Los Angeles, CA) and the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC). She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma, and serves as the Project Producer for Native Lens, an Indigenous digital series for Rocky Mountain PBS and KSUT Tribal Radio. Colleen is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.