Montana International Film Festival | Billings, MT Sept 19-23, 2018


Babcock theater, Sept 15, 2018 | 2:00 PM

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panelist & Guests


Jane Lind

Aleut actress, director, choreographer and playwright Jane Lind began her professional career at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and continued her training at New York University and Paris, France. As a co-founder of the Native American Theater Ensemble, she performed in various productions by Peter Brooks, Hanay Geiogamah, John Vacarro, Andrei Serban and Ellen Stewart.

Jane's film and television credits include Percy Adlon's "Salmonberries", the mini-series "Return to Lonesome Dove" and TNT's "Crazy Horse". Her theater credits include the Cherokee Historical Society's "Unto These Hills", Juneau, Alaska's Perseverence Theater's productions of "Raven's Odyssey" and "The Vagina Monologues", the Theater of Yugen's "Crazy Horse - Moon of the Scarlet Plums", and most recently Native Voices at the Autry's "The Frybread Queen" in Los Angeles and Saginaw, Michigan.


Migizi Pensoneau

(Ponca/Ojibwe) was born and raised in Minnesota, and attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Migizi has worked for both major and independent production companies as a writer and a producer for film and television. He is the recipient of awards, commissions, fellowships, and grants from ABC/Disney, Warner Brothers, The Institute of American Indian Arts (where he currently teaches screenwriting in the MFA program), the Sundance Institute, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (with the 1491s, where they received a commission to do an original play, now in production), among others. Migizi has written several published pieces on the interaction of American Indians and popular culture. He received his MFA in Screenwriting at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM, and is a co-founder and writer for the popular comic group the 1491s.


Maya Dittloff

Blackfeet, Chippewa, and 3 Affiliated Tribes, who grew up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana, says that as a Native woman, she stands as the antithesis of what Hollywood has presented as who should be able to make films. 21-year-old student at the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and television, and will be at the helm as director and writer of the television series adaptation of Salish author Debra Magpie Earling's novel, Perma Red, which is now in pre-production and slated to be released in 2019. It’s based on the life of a young, free-spirited Salish woman, Louise White Elk, during the 1940s on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.


Shaandiin Tome

Shaandiin is a filmmaker from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Trained as an editor and cinematographer, she is a 2016 Sundance Full Circle Fellowship alumna, 2016 Sundance Programming Intern, and in May 2017, she was selected for the Sundance Native Filmmaker’s Lab Fellowship with her shortfilm project Mud (Hashtl’ishnii). After making Mud (Hashtl’ishnii) (see it on 9/15/18 at the Babcock Theater at 11:30 am) it was selected to premiere in Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and is currently traveling the world on the film festival circuit. A recent graduate of the University of New Mexico with a BFA in Film and Digital Media Production, she graduated cum laude and through her filmmaking passion hopes to continue her career creating art. She currently lives in Albuquerque, aiming to bring resonating imagery in convergence with story, illustrating her perspective as a Diné woman.


Willi White

A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe— Willi White grew up on the rural plains and badlands of the Pine Ridge Reservation located in southwestern South Dakota. Willi is a 2016 Native Filmmakers Lab Fellow of Sundance Institute’s Native and Indigenous program—through whose support is developing a short film, has worked on several high-profile film productions, and continues to develop original content. Willi is moved to create opportunity where it does not exist. As a result, he co-founded a digital media production company, helped create a film festival on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and actively works to redefine the Indigenous narrative. 


Ben Pease

Panel Moderator

At 29 years old, Crow/Northern Cheyenne artist Ben Pease stands firmly upon the ideal of education via creativity,  as a contemporary storyteller. He and his family are currently residing in Billings, MT. 

Pease's work is well known for its unique and culturally relevant style using historic photographic references while also touching on current events and issues simultaneously. You may have seen his use of both antique and contemporary items collaged into his work to create literal and conceptual reference points.


Ron Garritson

Sign Talker - Ron will translate the panel discussion in Native Sign live on stage.

Ron is a 5th generation Montanan, born and raised here in Billings.  He is an actor, historian, leathersmith and cultural preservationist. His film credits include "Son of the Morning Star", "Far and Away", "Return to Lonesome Dove", "Falcon Song" and "Winter Solstice" to name a few.

Ron spent 40 years researching and learning the Plains Indian Sign Language first hand from Crow, Cheyenne and Blackfeet sign talkers as well as from his research of books written by Genl. Hugh Lenox Scott, William Tomkins and E.T. Seton and others that hand first hand relations with the American Indian of the Plains during the late 1800’s, and from old films that documented the use of this universal hand talk native only to America with the intent of preserving this unique form of Native American communication alive for future generations.