Native News Network Staff in Entertainment. Discussion »
VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation honored Film Producer Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, Iñupiaq, with a 2013 NACF Artist Fellowship in recognition of his gift as an indigenous storyteller, skilled in bringing viewers into new worlds.
Inspired by Iñupiat artists Elijah Kakinya and Simon Paneak and filmmakers Stanley Kubrick and Akira Kurosawa, MacLean creates stories inspired by the beauty of his culture that explore universal themes from an indigenous perspective. His documentary "Natchiliagniaqtuguk Aapagalu" (Seal Hunting with Dad, 2005) brings the relationship between fathers and sons to the screen through the Iñupiaq experience of a boy learning how to hunt seals from his father.
“What I learned from the storytellers I admire is that my first obligation is to entertain, to bring the audience into the world of the film and let them lose themselves in the lives of the characters,”
“A storyteller who fails to entertain will quickly lose his audience and end up talking to himself. But a story that merely entertains is an empty experience. I hope to achieve something more with my films.”
MacLean's films explore intense experiences. His film "Kinnaq Nigaqtuqtuaq" (The Snaring Madman, 2005) sets an arctic legend of a cannibal bent on trapping and eating a young woman in New York City of today.
“In each film I make I try to surprise the audience. I try to take them on an unexpected journey, to introduce them to unfamiliar places, characters and situations,”
“My films reveal a deeper layer of truth about the characters and the worlds they live in, and ultimately about the audience themselves.”
He gives viewers a glimpse into stark realities and allows audiences to contemplate how a similar situation would expose their own vulnerabilities, shortcomings and strengths. His feature film "On the Ice," which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, tells the tale of two teenagers grappling with the moral complexities of their involvement in a murder and its cover up. Universal in its portrayal and set in a contemporary Iñuit village in Arctic, the story could be set in any suburban community, yet shares challenges unique to growing up in the isolated tundra of Maclean's home city of Barrow, Alaska.
With the support of a 2013 NACF Artist Fellowship in Film, the Alaska-based artist purchased additional equipment to allow him to continue to film on location within his community. This year, MacLean contributed the sci-fi tale "Children of the Northern Lights" (2013) and to "Futurestates," a series of short narratives wondering what the future may be like.
You can keep the creative spirit alive by donating to the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation to support Alaska Native, American Indian and Native Hawaiian artists and culturemakers like Andrew Okpeaha MacLean.
posted October 14, 2013 7:20 am edt