The Sundance Institute’s Native Program, which supports indigenous filmmakers, has selected NMU student Kayla Bell as one of its Full Circle Fellows. She will fly to Utah on Sunday to enjoy an immersive experience at the annual Sundance Film Festival. Bell will attend screenings, participate in guided film discussions and workshops and network with leaders of the indigenous film community at receptions.
A member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Bell's hometown is Eastport. She is an English major with a minor in Native American Studies.
“I’m so excited to participate in this,” she said. “I’ve always been a writer, telling stories through poetry and creative nonfiction. I’ve also helped with a couple of student films on campus and made my own little funny films with friends and family. But this fellowship opens up all different kinds of opportunities. Filmmaking is a cool medium because it ties together so many different things. And it’s more accessible and diverse now. It used to be available only to people with money and the right equipment and tools. But now people are making films on their phones.”
As a Full Circle Fellow, Bell said she will also participate in an internship in New Mexico and a visit to Los Angeles to tour film studios and connect with others in the industry.
According to information provided by the Sundance Institute, founded by Robert Redford, the year-long Full Circle Fellowship “focuses on developing Native youth filmmakers through workshops and training opportunities. Full Circle links talented young storytellers to education and career pipelines across fields of independent filmmaking, using structural strategies where Native communities heal by telling their own stories.”