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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Sundance New Mexico Takes Next Step
by Megan Kamerick New Mexico Business Weekly Staff
Actor/Director Robert Redford and Gov. Bill Richardson said Friday the next step for the Sundance New Mexico initiative is establishing training programs.

Called "Milagro at Los Luceros," the initiative is a nod to "The Milagro Beanfield War," which Redford directed and shot in Truchas in 1988. Los Luceros is in Alcalde and is a 148-acre ranch complex that will house the programs. The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs operates the property.

Starting this spring, the program encompasses a series of labs, workshops and discussions. The focus will be on creating and expanding training programs in film, arts and the environment.

In a letter about the initiative, Redford called New Mexico "the land of storytellers."

"I have always wanted to explore new ways to enable underrepresented voices — Native America and Hispanic in particular — to tell their own stories in their own ways on their own turf," he said in a prepared statement. "I also believe in arts as an economic driver, and I look forward to helping a new generation of storytellers prove that with me and with the state of New Mexico."

Redford founded the Sundance Institute in Utah in 1981. The nonprofit organization fosters the development of original storytelling for film and theater. It is known internationally for its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theater artists.

Redford will be the creative director for an actor's lab designed specifically for American Indian and Hispanic actors. It will be used as a national training model for diverse populations.

One-day audition workshops will be scheduled around the state to develop and enhance auditioning skills. Each participant will be required to submit an audition tape, and a panel of professionals will choose the participants for the first Actor's Lab.

The writing workshops will start with a series of one-day story workshops called "Designed Obstacles" under the direction of screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury.

A five-day magical realism screenwriter's lab, using themes from American Indian, Hispanic and African-American cultures will take place in 2011.

A screenwriter's lab for scripts written using New Mexico landscape and Native, Hispanic or magical realism themes is also in the plans. A Native Intensive Lab is under development with Director Chris Eyre, who directed "Smoke Signals" and several films based on Tony Hillerman novels, as well as episodes of "The American Experience."

On April 20, a launch for Milagro at Los Luceros takes place with multiple screenings of "The Milagro Beanfield War," a low-rider parade and an art contest to design the logo for Milagros at Los Luceros.

This spring, the first in a series of Think Tanks, held in conjunction with the New Mexico Film Office Film Finance and Distribution Conference will take place. The focus will be on designing marketing and distribution plans for the future.

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler will present a discussion in May at Milagro on the camera as storyteller. And in August, Milagro will host a gathering of Native filmmakers who will be attending the Smithsonian's Annual Native Showcase during Indian Market.

Other events include screening and discussions of Native and Hispanic films, visual anthropology, film finance and distribution, and the arts as an economic driver in New Mexico and the global economy.

Los Luceros is currently undergoing renovation and construction, scheduled to be completed in 2011. Last May, state officials said the cost of the new project with Redford would be covered with existing appropriations for the operation of Los Luceros.

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Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. Through its programs, the Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work.

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