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Dustinn Craig (White Mountain Apache/Navajo) grew up in Arizona, living in White River on the Fort Apache Reservation and later in Window Rock on the Navajo Reservation. As a teenager, Craig began making skateboarding videos of himself and his friends. But with fatherhood arriving early, he decided to create "something I hoped my kids would see and watch some day." This led to his short film I Belong to This, a personal documentary in the 2003 PBS documentary series Matters of Race. In 2005 he was awarded the National Video Resources Media Artists Fellowship for a documentary on skateboarding at Fort Apache, Ride through Genocide (working title).
Working in high-definition format, Craig has produced commissions for various cultural institutions and PBS. For the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, he developed a three-screen installation film as part of the museum's signature exhibition "Home: Native People in the Southwest." In 2007 he developed 4wheelwarpony, named after the skateboard company that he heads, as a media component of an installation piece in the NMAI and Heard's joint exhibition "Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World" (curators: Gerald McMaster and Joe Baker). It was selected for screening at numerous film festivals, and was screened as part of the 2009 NMAI exhibition Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America. It won Best Experimental in the 2008 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival and honorable mention for Best Experimental at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Festival.
Craig’s first feature-length documentary, Geronimo, a production of WGBH’s 2009 American Experience series, We Shall Remain, provides a skillful reconsideration of historical interpretation. To film the dramatic reenactments of 19th-century events, he developed a unit of community-based actors. The work had its theatrical premiere at the 2008 Native Cinema Showcase. In 2009 Our Home, Our Stories: Short Films by Dustinn Craig, a compilation broadcast on Arizona Public Television, won a Bronze Telly award.
Craig lives in Mesa, Arizona, where he and his wife, writer Velma Kee Craig, are co-directors of the film company BetterOnes Productions.
"In certain circles in the film community there seems to
be a growing dismissal of some profound aspects of our Native
experience today and in our collective history. Real history will
utilize our oral history and cultural insight to tell our story
so that it can be reexamined, discussed and defined by us, the
Native community. When we start to believe that the boarding school
experience has been done, that the nineteenth century is played
out, or that we're past Relocation, and reservations are all the
samethen we really have allowed ourselves to become part
of America's fabled "melting pot." As Native peoples
we have an incredibly diverse array of experience, culture and
history that spans well beyond pre-contact and will continue to
evolve as we continue to remember and learn from those that came
before us. I feel that so much of this diversity is left unexplored
with film, whether the content is narrative or documentary, contemporary
or historic. The reality is that the only thing we have had too
much of is films written, developed and created by anyone but
us. As an artist, a filmmaker, and a member of our Native community,
I want to help create content that does not yet exist, or that
is in need of a second look. We Native people are in no short
supply of content from our communities and experiences that the
world can learn from and relate to. I'm thankful for Native FILM!
"Also, with age I have learned that my indigenous background
is the essence of who I am. When I was much younger, perhaps I
wanted to escape that so I could be just an individual, however
recent experience has helped me to realize indigenous identity
could not have existed without community. So my allegiance will
always be to my Native community, and that influences every creative
decision and aspiration I will ever make or have."
Presentado por NMAI
Fotográficos: Dustinn Craig - courtesy of the filmmaker; Dustin Craig - courtesy
of the filmmaker