UNITY Youth Leader Wins Award at Arizona Film Festival
UNITY News correspondent and mentor Kenneth Shirley, Navajo, and his company Indigenous Enterprise, won the Chandler International Film Festival Art Award last month for a documentary. The documentary, nearly 10 minutes long, highlights the origin of Indigenous Enterprise and how its young Native owners address cultural stereotypes by educating the public through tribal songs and dance.
“In the film we covered a lot of the work we’ve been doing over the past two years traveling and spreading positive Indigenous culture. We did not expect to win but ended up coming out with an award. It was awesome because we were the only Native Americans at the whole festival. So we not only represented ourselves but every Indigenous person,” said Shirley. Joining Shirley on the red carpet at the awards ceremony, included Jamal Jones, Ty Lodgepole, Colin Lee, Tino Lee, Rae Scott, and Brandon Begay, all of the Navajo Nation and Ike Owens of the Blackfoot and Navajo Tribes, and Jorge Gonzales, enrolled in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. All are under the age of 30.
A portion of the documentary includes footage from the group’s performance at the 2017 UNITY Midyear Conference. “We’re super proud of Kenneth Shirley and his company. They’re the prime example of the success of young people who they put their minds and hearts into becoming change agents. We’ve seen Kenneth grow as a filmmaker over the last three years. He’s been instrumental in the development of UNITY News. We can’t wait to see what happens in the years to come,” said Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache, UNITY’s Executive Director.
The Chandler International Film Festival is a non-profit, diverse and pioneering film festival located in Chandler, Arizona. CIFFI is dedicated to the advancement of social and cultural awareness through education and delivered on the artistic platform of filmmaking.
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