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The Future Is Indigenous

The stories we see being told onscreen in movie theaters and homes across the country are powerful and have shaped perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors towards Native peoples. We must find opportunities to support Indigenous storytellers telling Indigenous stories and increase opportunities to include Indigenous and Native creatives in all aspects of the industry.

Netflix Animation Foundations Program

Building Equity & Increasing Access for Indigenous Creatives

Do you want to break into the animation industry?

Join us for the Spring 2022 Netflix Animation Foundations Program in partnership with IllumiNative and VME (Veterans in Media Entertainment). This four month mentorship program with Netflix Animation Studios will provide Native creatives with the following:

  1. Career coaching & an established connection with an industry professional;
  2. A professionally styled & curated portfolio, writing sample or resume;
  3. An understanding of various career paths in animation; and
  4. Professional guidance to prepare early-career artists for entry-level positions within animation.

There are six mentorship tracks available:

  4. CD/3G 

Program Details

Mentees will be matched with mentors based on the needs and abilities of the mentees. The deadline for applications is now closed.

More information on the program can be found here.

Questions about the Netflix Animation Foundations Program can be sent to popculture@illuminatives.org.

IllumiNative Producers Program

IllumiNative and Netflix have launched the IllumiNative Producers Program, a year-long program that will support a cohort of seven early and mid-career Indigenous producers. Throughout the program, the fellows will develop a current project, attend monthly workshops, and have access to network-building opportunities with their cohort as well as mentors and leaders in the industry. Fellows will also receive a $25,000 stipend to support their work, and creative feedback and mentorship as they develop their project.


Applications are open to early and mid-career Indigenous producers working in television, film and/or documentary. To qualify for the program, each applicant must:

1. identify as Native;
2. be attached to one or more current project/s as a producer with rights to intellectual property they are seeking to adapt; and
3. agree to participate in the program fully.

The application is now closed. Applicants who have moved to the next round will be notified via email by Friday, March 4th.

Questions about the Producers Program can be sent to connect@illuminatives.org.

THE TIME IS NOW: The Power of Native Representation in Entertainment

A Guide for Industry Professionals

This guide can serve as a resource for writers, producers, directors, creators, and others in the entertainment industry who seek to develop accurate stories and characters by and about Native people in television, film, and other forms of media. This guide incorporates the learnings and insights of nearly two dozen Native creatives who participated in in-depth interviews to discuss the opportunities, barriers, and experiences of working within the entertainment industry.

More Guides

What’s In And What’s Out In Native Representation

Land Acknowledgement Guide

Be A Mythbuster

According to RNT, 78% of Americans reported wanting to learn more about Native peoples, their histories, cultures, and contemporary stories.

In the same report, 78% of Americans reported believing it is important to feature more stories about Native peoples on television, movies, and other forms of entertainment.

Native Representation Today

The 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report found:

Native representation in film: between 0.3%- 0.5% in film.

Native representation In television: between 0 and 0.6%.

The 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report showed Native representation in film stagnant at 0.6%.

Native women are less likely to be represented on screen and in positions like writers, directors, and producers.

Support Native Stories

Over the course of the last year, audiences around the world have begun to see a glimpse of the talent and power of Native creatives.

With the release of critically acclaimed Native-authored and centered shows, “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs,” and complex and powerful films like “Wild Indian” and “Night Raiders” we’re witnessing a revolutionary shift in representation that moves us beyond the outdated, inaccurate, and often offensive depictions of Native peoples in pop culture – to more compelling, contemporary, and accurate portrayals of our lives today.

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