Alaska Natives Join Hollywood Creative Forum

Hoover, a Norweigian-Unangax filmmaker from Naknek, produces documentary, fiction and art films that highlight Alaska Native culture. She wrote and directed her most recent film, a short fiction titled “The Last Walk.” The International Sami Film Institute of Norway funded the film, which was screened in Berlin, Finland, Toronto, LA, San Francisco, Seattle and Alaska. Other works include an 18-minute video titled “Alaxsxaq,” an exhibit titled “View from Up Here” and video projects with the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and Burke Museum.

Hoover, who began her education in art at the University of Washington, says she grew up around a brilliant community of Native American artists. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, her plan had been to continue her graduate education in art history. After taking a film making class her mind began to embrace this new art form as another way to share native art. Her first works were documentary films for school districts and museums.

Kairaiuak is a Yup’ik artist from Chefornak, Alaska, with a love for storytelling through various mediums. As a member of the world-renowned indigenous music group Pamyua, Kairaiuak has shared Alaska Native culture on an international stage. He is the composer of many of Pamyua’s songs, and has written short plays about aspects of Alaska Native culture. He’s currently writing a feature-length fictional movie script to be spoken entirely in Yup’ik.

Kairaiuak found out about the GCI fellowship about a week before the deadline from a friend. He literally got his application in at 11:50 p.m. on the due date and was quite amazed by his selection. He is now very excited about sharing the viewpoint of indigenous people with those attending the Forum. Having collaborated on music for many films, his grand vision is to collaborate with Academy Award winning composer James Horner and other notables in the field.

Hoover and Kairaiuak, who were selected from a pool of 20 applicants, will be introduced during the Forum’s opening session on Tuesday, February 13 in Los Angeles.

“Both Anna and Ossie are talented artists who are committed to advancing Alaska Native voices through their work,” said Heather Handyside, GCI’s senior director of corporate communications. “The selection committee was impressed with their body of work and their ability to impact the conversation about Alaska Native inclusion in the entertainment industry.”

“The Hollywood Creative Forum is exactly where these content creators need to be, and we are thrilled to be able to work with GCI to create this opportunity,” said Michelle Ray, deputy executive director of the Walter Kaitz Foundation. “We were impressed with the wide range of Alaska Native talent and we believe that the Forum will provide both Anna and Ossie with a better understanding of how to navigate a competitive entertainment industry. We hope that the Forum will also reinforce to producers and network executives that there is great interest in projects about Alaska Natives and their culture.”