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Creative Fellowship

4th World Media Lab

The 4th World Media Lab provides Indigenous creators a progressive immersion into film learning and film exploration ranging from storytelling basics and pitching, to presentation and marketing, to distribution and industry networking.

The lab includes residencies at Camden International Film Festival in Maine, Big Sky Documentary Festival in Montana, and Seattle International Film Festival in Washington state, and is organized through a partnership between Nia Tero, SIFF, Big Sky Film Festival, and Points North Foundation.

Applications for 4th World Media Lab are currently closed.

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Introducing the 2024 4th World Media Lab Fellows

The 4th World Indigenous Media Lab is a year-long fellowship for emerging and mid-career Indigenous filmmakers, providing opportunities to develop filmmaking skills and networks through festival participation, hands-on training, masterclasses, workshopping projects in development, pitch activities, and meetings with funders and other industry decision-makers. Fellowship activities take place at Camden International Film Festival (CIFF), Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The program is a collaborative partnership between the festivals and Nia Tero. The Points North Institute in Camden provides a vast network of peer and industry mentors and resources at CIFF, including access to the Points North Forum and opportunities for one-on-one connections with future collaborators and funders. At Big Sky, fellows will attend the DocShop filmmaker’s forum, Indigenous filmmaker screenings and events, and a private seminar with leaders in the Indigenous filmmaking community and the film industry at large. The Seattle experience, in partnership with Nia Tero, offers industry master classes, hands-on training and global networking in the SIFF urban festival atmosphere.

2024 4th World Bruce Thomas Miller Headshot Photo Courtesy of Bruce Thomas Miller

Bruce Thomas Miller

Anishinaabe, Matachewan First Nation | Alberta | Website

Bruce Thomas Miller is a multi-dispensary artist. He writes, directs, and produces various film and television projects. He is Anishinaabe, raised off reserve in various Northern Ontario communities, but now is based out of Mohkintstis (also known as Calgary.) He strives to produce compelling stories that will highlight indigenous stories. He also has 15 years of frontline social work, which has affected his storytelling. He searches for truth in his stories, be it scripted or non-scripted. However, he would like to produce non-scripted stories that will challenge himself and the viewer into a new frontier of documentary filmmaking. Bruce participated in the imagineNATIVE Originals commission program in which he created his short film "Conviction” which had its world premiere at imagineNATIVE in October 2022. The film has since screened at Red Nation Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival, Garifuna Film Festival and Whistler Film Festival. The film has garnered awards and accolades. The short “Conviction” is a proof of concept for a feature and has since received a development grant for the first draft. Bruce has just finished his second fiction short SKYLAR'S COMET which will be premiering in the year 2024. He also has many unscripted and scripted projects in development. He also is in the infancy stages of his game development company. Bruce also would like to reconnect with his roots in theatre and stage. Many great things are on the horizon for him.

2024 4th World Cass Gardiner Headshot Photo Credit Stephanie Noritz 1x1

Cass Gardiner

Anishinaabe Algonquin, Kebaowek First Nation | New Jersey | Website

Cass Gardiner is an Anishinaabe Algonquin filmmaker, curator, and writer from Kebaowek First Nation. She directed the short film JANELLE NILES: INCONVENIENT, part of Citizen Minutes Season 2 JANELLE NILES: INCONVENIENT premiered at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival in 2023 and is streaming on CBC Gem and Crave in Canada. She produced the short documentary JEWELS HUNT, which was supported by ITVS and TFI, and broadcast on PBS Independent Lens in 2020. Her documentary film THE EDIBLE INDIAN has met critical acclaim in classrooms and theaters internationally and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the American Indian Film Festival. Her writing on Indigenous art, film, and food has been published in Inuit Art Quarterly, Cherry Bombe, and Compound Butter Magazine and her work was accepted to the Oxford Food Symposium in 2023. Cass has held a variety of positions within documentary film institutions, namely the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI), where she worked in film education and supported the IF/Then Shorts program. She is an independent contractor and film curator for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, curating the annual Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds a BA from NYU Gallatin and an MFA in Documentary Film from Toronto Metropolitan University.

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Keisha Erwin

Woodland Cree, Lac La Ronge Indian Band | Saskatchewan | Website

Keisha Erwin is a 2S nīhithaw (Woodland Cree) emerging artist, academic and a citizen of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in Saskatchewan. Keisha holds a B.A. Honors in Indigenous Studies and is undertaking their Master’s of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan with a research focus on community-led Indigenous language revitalization. They are a second language learner of nihithawiwin (Woodland Cree-TH dialect) and has released a Cree Kids Book that they illustrated themselves and translated with help from their Cree mentor Christine McKenzie. With mentorship from 2S filmmakers Fallon Simard and TJ Cuthand, Keisha was able to produce their first film in 2019. Keisha’s film pî-kiwîk (2023), created through the NSI Indigidocs program premiered at imagineNATIVE and has and will be screened internationally. Keisha’s dreams are to get into filmmaking and animation and through which, to tell stories in their Indigenous language (Cree) to inspire and encourage youth to learn Cree. Keisha is the founder of nihithaw oskatisak (Cree youth), a grassroots initiative in their community, and has received grants from WeMatter Org, United Church Healing Fund, Indigenous Youth Roots and the Indigenous Resiliency Fund to organize initiatives around art as healing for youth and language revitalization.

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Nicolle L. Gonzales (Arthun)

Diné, Navajo Nation | New Mexico | Website

Nicolle L. Gonzales (Arthun) is a Dine’ Nurse-Midwife from the Navajo Nation who has over 12 years of Nurse-Midwifery experience practicing in rural hospitals and community birth settings in New Mexico. She founded the Changing Woman Initiative in 2015 with the mission to empower our diverse indigenous communities to protect cultural birth resiliency and the fundamental human right to reproductive health, dignity, and justice. Nicolle is the producer of Native Sisters, a series about Diné siblings Nicolle and Kansas, who embark on a journey to reclaim the narrative of Native and Indigenous women. Throughout their venture, they shatter antiquated myths and create a community of Indigenous trailblazers. Their ultimate aim is to build a sisterhood of Indigenous trailblazing women who will garner support for Native women in leadership spaces like the United Nations and the US Congress.

2024 4th World Sisa Quispe Headshot Photo Credit Miguel Herrera

Sisa Quispe

Quechua Aymara | New York | Website

Sisa Quispe is a Quechua Aymara award-winning director, writer, producer, speaker, and host in New York City. As an indigenous woman, her work largely seeks to inspire the preservation of native ways while sharing a decolonizing message. Quispe performed, wrote, produced, and directed "Urpi: Her Last Wish," which won the 2023 Annual Student Short Film Showcase by The Gotham. The film explores the complexity of Indigenous identity. Her popular TEDx talk, "Re-thinking Who We Are Through A Decolonizing Lens," shares her decolonization journey. As host of the Instagram series “Native Voices,” Quispe interviewed Indigenous people throughout Abya Yala/Turtle Island. She also produced “Vive el Quechua” (“Living Quechua”), an episodic YouTube series preserving and sharing her Indigenous language and culture. Sisa hopes to bring more representation of indigenous women's perspectives to the screen and to continue cultivating a path for indigenous youth to develop their voices.

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Victoria Cheyenne

Aymara, El Alto Bolivia / Tsétsêhéstâhese, Northern Cheyenne | Montana | Website

Victoria Cheyenne (she/her/ella) is an Indigenous Bolivian-American (Aymara/Tsétsêhéstâhese) documentary filmmaker based in Bozeman, Montana. As a storyteller, Cheyenne navigates intimate familial storylines with a deep passion for themes centered on matriarchal lineage and cultural heritage. Her activism focuses on land sovereignty and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples. Her documentary short film, “Learning I’m Home,” was a Kendeda Fund grant recipient and premiered at the 2023 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, winning the bronze award in the Indigenous Documentary Film competition, judged by Lily Gladstone. Cheyenne is a 2022/2023 NeXt Doc Fellow and a member of the Chicana Directors Initiative. She has previously worked producing and directing for digital original productions at Paramount. She’s currently in development for her debut feature documentary “How To Be A Daughter,” which follows her mother’s journey to her birthplace in Bolivia to reconnect with the family who spent the last 50 years searching for her.

2022-2023 4th World Media Lab Fellows

2023 4th World headshot Adreanna Rodriguez

Adreanna Rodriguez

Standing Rock Sioux | California | Website

Adreanna is a Lakota/Chicana artist based in Oakland, CA. As a storyteller, her research, writing, and filmmaking revolve around issues of social/climate justice for Indigenous communities, as well as femme stories. She has directed and produced her first short documentary film about female pastoralists from the Maasai tribe who document the impact of climate change through the use of participatory photography. She holds a M.A. in Visual Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies from the Maine College of Art. She is currently working as an audio producer for VICE Media.

2023 4th World headshot Fritz Bitsoie

Fritz Bitsoie

Diné/Navajo | California | Website

Fritz Bitsoie is an award-winning Diné/Navajo filmmaker based out of Oakland, Ca. His recent film, The Trails Before Us, was featured at numerous film festivals across the nation. Including SXSW, SFFilm, Seattle International, Mountain Film, AIFF, and Big Sky Doc Film Festival where it took home the award for, Best Artistic Vision. It was also an official selection for the Native Film Showcase for the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Self-described as a VHS action-film geek at heart, Fritz is an alumnus of the University of New Mexico that grew up on sci-fi/horror and martial-arts VHS films. He loves to incorporate elements from genre films to focus on stories that explore themes of cultural significance within the experience of the modern Native American.

2023 4 World headshot Jonathan Luna

Jonathan Luna

Tama Descent / Mestizo | Florida / Colombia | Instagram

Jonathan Luna is a land defender and community organizer based in La Jagua, Huila, Colombia. Over the last sixteen years they have held many roles, including as a cultural worker, educator, researcher, farmer, and interpreter/translator. They have been a member of the arts activist group the Beehive Design Collective since 2002, and a co-founder of the Polinizaciones process since 2008. Within La Jagua, Luna is co-founder and member of the community association “Jaguos por el Territorio,” focused on the intersection of environmental justice and art. Since 2007, they have accompanied, co-created, coordinated, and implemented different processes of wildlife monitoring, ecological restoration, popular education, audio visual creation, permaculture, performance art skills building & non-violent direct actions with rural communities impacted by resource extraction projects—mostly Indigenous communities throughout Colombia and in Zulia, Venezuela. As of late 2019, Luna has been coordinating the development and production of the macro project for traditional Wayuu tattoo revitalization: taking form through the documentary feature, a series of gatherings, multimedia production, and a regional impact tour.

2023 4th World headshot Loren Waters

Loren Waters

Cherokee Nation / Kiowa Tribe | Oklahoma | Website

Award-winning filmmaker Loren Waters is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe. Loren’s work aims to center environmental knowledge and culture revitalization through storytelling. She is a recipient of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation LIFT Award and a former fellow of the 2021 Warner Media Bootcamp and the Intercultural Leadership Institute Year 4. Loren worked on projects Seasons 1 and 2 of Reservation Dogs, Fancy Dance (2023), and Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). Currently, she is in production with a short film titled, ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ (Meet Me at the Creek). Her first short documentary, Restoring Néške'emāne (2021), screened at Hawaii International Film Festival, deadCenter Film Festival, and Cucalorus. The film won Best Short Documentary at North Dakota Environmental Rights Film Festival and Honorable Mention at Tallgrass Film Festival.

2023 4 World headshot Paige Bethmann

Paige Bethmann

Haudenosaunee (Mohawk / Oneida) | Nevada | Website

Paige Bethmann is a Haudenosaunee director and producer based in Reno, Nevada. Over the last 10 years, Paige has worked in non-fiction television for various digital and broadcast networks such as ESPN, PBS, Vox Media, Youtube Originals, USA and NBC. As a filmmaker, Paige has been supported by the Logan Non-Fiction Fellowship Program and 2022 PGA Create fellowship. Her debut feature film, ‘Remaining Native,’ has also been supported by the IDA Logan Elevate Grant, Tracksmith, the Points North + CNN Films American Stories fellowship program, Perspective Fund, and Running Strong for American Indian Youth. A graduate of Ithaca College, Paige has a bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Radio from the Park School of Communications. Remaining Native will be her directorial debut.

2023 4th World headshot Ritchie Hemphill

Ritchie Hemphill

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw | British Columbia | Instagram

Ritchie Hemphill grew up on Tsulquate reserve and was raised by his community, the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw people. He is currently living on Coast Salish territory on Vancouver Island, Canada. Ritchie is both a filmmaker and a recording musician, working to create art that is healing for himself and for his people. Ritchie co-founded the award-winning stop motion animation film studio Bronfree Films with his film partner Ryan Haché in 2015, and have since produced a number of short films that include Indigenous legends, language revitalization and Elder storytelling. Ritchie has an integral role in producing, directing, designing, composing for and marketing films with Bronfree Films. The studio’s short film “Məca,” recently won the Indigenous Language Production Award from imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival (2022), and was nominated for Best Animated Short at the American Indian Film Festival (2022). Ritchie’s goal is to render his people’s traditional stories in a beautiful light through his films.

2021-2022 4th World Media Lab Fellows

Ajuawak Kapashesit photo by Mark Binks Photography

Ajuawak Kapashesit

White Earth Ojibwe descendant Waskaganish Cree Enrolled member | Washington

Ajuawak Kapashesit is an actor, screenwriter, playwright, and director for stage and screen. His acting credits include Indian Horse, Once Upon a River, and Indian Road Trip. His television credits include Bad Blood Season 2 (Netflix) and Outlander Season 4 (Sony). In 2018, he was chosen as an Indigenous Film Opportunity Fellow with the Sundance Film Institute and was a finalist for the Sundance Indigenous Filmmakers Fellowship. His short story, A Fresh Start, was a finalist in the Imagining Indigenous Futurisms short story competition in 2020 and was selected for publication in the anthology, Before the Usual Time, published by Latitude 46 that year. He is an alumnus of the CBC Actors Conservatory at the Canadian Film Centre. Currently, Ajuawak is a Vision Maker Media Shorts Fellow and a contributing writer for Tallboyz Season 3 on CBC.

Brit Hensel Headshot photographed by Taylor Hensel

Brit Hensel

Cherokee Nation | Oklahoma

Brit Hensel is an Oklahoma based writer and award-winning filmmaker whose work focuses on Indigenous storytelling and environmental justice. An enrolled member of Cherokee Nation, she was recently awarded the 4th World Indigenous Media Fellowship. Previously, Brit directed the documentary films Zibi Yajdan (2019) and Native and American (2017). Brit’s films have screened both nationally and abroad, including at Māoriland Film Festival. She was awarded NeXtGen’s 30 Under 30 and was a NeXt Doc Collective Film Fellow. In 2019, she worked as a producer for Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People, an Emmy-winning documentary-style program featuring the people, places, history, and culture of the Cherokee Nation. Brit recently worked on the first season of the FX series, Reservation Dogs. She is currently in development on ᎤᏕᏲᏅ, a short film that is part of the Reciprocity Project by Nia Tero. Brit continues to use her love for storytelling to help amplify the voices and values of her community. Most importantly, she hopes her work honors and makes Cherokee people proud.

Erin Lau Headshot photographed by Antonio Agosto

Erin Lau

Native Hawaiian | California

Just as her family served Hawaiʻi through their talents, Erin Lau wants to elevate her community through film. Erin was selected as a Sundance Native Lab fellow for her Chapman University MFA thesis, The Moon and the Night. The award-winning film went on to screen in over 30 festivals, including being short-listed for the 2018 Student BAFTA awards and licensed by the Criterion Channel. Since graduation, Erin has signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA) and continued her growth through fellowships with the Sundance Indigenous Institute, Film Independent’s Project Involve, Unlock Her Potential, and Powderkeg’s Break The Room. Over the past three years, she has worked as a Senior Producer-Director for Jubilee Media, where her videos accumulated over 130 million views. Through this work, she was also given the opportunity to develop empathy-forward content for brands including Google, Netflix, and Always.

Jared Lank photographed by Abigail Lank

Jared Lank

Mi’kmaq Acadia First Nation | Maine

Jared Lank is an Indigenous photographer and filmmaker from Portland, Maine. Jared’s breadth of work is ultimately focused around his experience as an Indigenous person growing up in Maine, making environmental portraits, photographing landscapes and promoting Indigenous issues. Jared has been immersed in his community both locally and nationally, amassing a following of over 32,000 followers on social media. From sharing his personal stories to uplifting those of his fellow community members, Jared’s work has grown from being featured by Instagram to working for global brands. He currently runs a freelance production studio with his wife, and together they are hired by clients to develop creative campaigns and to fulfill the entire production process. Jared recently accepted a position as a Storytelling Fellow for Upstander Project, focusing on documenting the stories of Indigenous people in the Dawnland.

Lucía headshot Vertical photographed by Daniel Glick

Lucía Ortega Toledo

Zapotec (from Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico) | Montana

Lucía Ortega Toledo has a B.A. in Communication Studies and a Master and Doctorate in Literature from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico. She has collaborated on commercial projects, documentaries, and short films, including the Emmy-awarded short film Iniskim. Her essays and poetry have been published in Opción, Castálida, Revista Reverso, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, among others in Mexico, and in Adspiro, Revista LALT from University of Oklahoma and Temporales from New York University in the United States. Lucía wrote and co-directed her first two fiction shorts, Belonging and Mother Earth’s Last Guest, in 2020. These projects gave her a sense of purpose and power to make her voice heard as a woman and as a person of color and to build alliances to learn, collaborate and make films of substance for herself and her community. They also inspired her to start working on her first feature documentary, HumanKind.

Morningstar Angeline2 Ungelbah Dávila Photography

Morningstar Angeline

Navajo, Chippewa Cree, Blackfeet, Shoshone, Latinx | New Mexico

Morningstar Angeline is a queer Navajo, Chippewa Cree, Shoshone, Blackfeet, and Latinx New Mexico-based actress, director, producer, writer, and performer. Her directing filmography includes short films Yá’át’ééh Abiní, Can't Have it Both Ways, and Seeds, in addition to the upcoming feature documentary Waveguides. Currently in development is her narrative feature film debut, Rowdy by Nature. Morningstar's fellowships include the 2018 Sundance Indigenous Lab, 2020 Feature Writers Lab, 2020 Vision Maker Media Lab, and 2021 4th World Indigenous Media Lab. Her resume includes work in AD, camera, casting, location departments, and talent. In 2014 she made her feature debut as Nizhoni Smiles in Drunktown's Finest at the Sundance Film Festival. Since then, Angeline has starred in feature films such as 2021's Keyhole Garden, 2019's the Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw, and television series including Amazon's Outer Range, Paramount's Yellowstone, Netflix's Chambers, and HBO's This Much I Know Is True.

Theo Ross photography by Anthony Wallace

Theola Ross

Cree Treaty 5, Pimicikamak Cree Nation-Cross Lake | Manitoba

Theola Ross is a social worker and filmmaker from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Manitoba; now living in Tkaronto, Ontario with 2-year-old daughter K.w.tin-NorthWind. Theola currently works for the Ministry of Education, as well as within the community teaching the Cree language to youth, sharing her story and bringing the arts through an Indigenous lens to schools in the Toronto District School Board. êmîcêtôsêt: Many Bloodlines premiered at the 2020 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and was winner of the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary and the Best Short Documentary Work at the 2020 imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. Most recently it was nominated for Best Short Documentary at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards.

2020 4th World Media Lab Fellows

Justin Ah Chong - (Kanaka Maoli, Native Hawaiian)
Chad Charlie - (Ahousaht First Nation)
Emily Cohen Ibañez
- (LatinX, Columbian-American)
Georgianna Lepping
- (Soloman Islander)
Regina Lepping - (Solomon Islander)
Alex Sallee - (Iñupiaq)
Ashley Solis - (Nahua and Chicana)
Asia Youngman
- (Cree, Métis and Haudenosaunee)


Tayolor Hensel - (Cherokee Nation)
Cleo Keahna
- (White Earth Anishinaabe and Meskawaki)
Ivan MacDonald - (Blackfeet)
Ivy MacDonald
- (Blackfeet)
Courtney Montour - (Mohawk, Kahnawake)
JJ Neepin
- (Cree)
Evelyn Pakinewatik
- (Nipissing First Nation, Ojibwe)
Raven Two Feathers
- (Cherokee, Seneca, Cayuga, and Comanche)


Razelle Benally - (Oglala/Diné)
Ramona Emerson
- (Diné)
Leya Hale - (Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota/Diné)
Alex Lazarowich - (Cree)
Ivy MacDonald
- (Blackfeet)
Christen Marquez - (Native Hawaiian)
Courtney Montour - (Mohawk)
Alycia Ortiz - (Miwok)
Deidra Peaches - (Diné)
Colleen Thurston
- (Choctaw)
Shaandiin Tome
- (Diné)

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A man, Justyn ah Chong, uses camera to film a women pouring water over plants in traditional dress


4th World Media Lab Fellow - Justyn Ah Chong

A women, Alex Sallee, standing outside in the snow


4th World Media Lab Fellow - Alex Sallee

A man, Chard Charlie, stands with a large camera on his shoulder filming in a suburban area in front of houses and cars


4th World Media Lab Fellow - Chad Charlie