Participating in the Alaska Native Health Equity Project:
Initial Production Phase as an Indigenous Production Assistant

Story by Brittany Woods-Orison

Alex was one of the instructors for the ‘Film Makers Intensive for Climate Justice’ cohort, a class that turned into a community. It was through this group that Alex shared the opportunity to be a production assistant for this film produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation’s Indigefi program that was based on food sovereignty, where we would be flying up to Nome. I was able to take time off work as the broadband specialist to fly up to Nome to participate in my first full film production.

I am so honored that my first experience in the film world was with an all Indigenous film crew; Alex, Tomas, and Leann were such a joy to work with. Our humor made the work light as we moved 30+ bags together, the extreme climates felt manageable as we led our work with our gratitude to be working on such a phenomenal project, and there was much comfort in our vulnerability as we shared our stories while being in community. Being a skeleton crew was tough, and it was important for us to be dependable. My eagerness to learn was rewarded with being able to be taught pulling focus on camera, handling audio equipment, and even shooting with one of the cameras on an easy rig.

I see the need for more Indigenous people to enter the film world, and foresee myself in the future immersing myself more into the work of our story telling. I will be advocating heavily for Tribal Digital Equity for the next few years so that we can have better connections across Alaska for Native people to share their stories online. As the world becomes more chaotic with climate change, Indigenous knowledge will become more critical than ever to bring people back to the land in a harmonious way. I look forward to seeing this film and what impacts it will have to those involved and those who see the final product.

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