P R E S S
If you are looking for some future truly independent films in the coming years (especially future Sundance selections) just keep an eye out for the scribes, producers and film titles mentioned in the eighteen projects advanced here by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Sharing coin totalling $450,000, we have some familiar names in Blindspotting‘s Carlos López Estrada, actress Morningstar Angeline (part of our Sundance Trading Cards series), Matthew Puccini and recent 2022 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs folks in Yuan Yuan (Late Spring) and Hasan Hadi (The President’s Cake). you’ll benefit from the SFFILM Rainin Grant coin.
by Filmmaker Magazine
Distributed on an annual basis, the SFFILM Rainin Grant is typically awarded to “to filmmakers whose narrative feature films meaningfully explore pressing social issues and/or have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community,” according to a press release. However, this does not mean that the grants are reserved exclusively for Bay Area filmmakers. So long as the filmmaker spends time developing their project in the Bay Area, recipients can be from anywhere in the U.S. or abroad.
They said in a collective statement, “The jury was impressed and inspired by this talented slate of filmmakers and their bold approaches to storytelling in front and behind the camera. The diversity in stories and filmmakers reflect the enduring vitality and spirit of independent cinema. From transgenerational stories to films that center historically excluded characters and communities, we are thrilled to support these projects and help them get one step closer to the big screen.”
by YAHOO News and ABQ Journal
With each step, Morningstar Angeline is getting closer to her dream. For years, Angeline has been part of the New Mexico film industry. She's worked many facets within the industry. While she's enjoyed many, it's directing that is pulling on her heart. It's exactly why she took a shot and put her name in the hat for NBCUniversal's New Mexico Directors' Initiative. The initiative provides mentoring and shadowing opportunities to up-and-coming film and television professionals. It also creates a pipeline of in-state talent for future productions. Angeline is the second participant.
by Hollywood Reporter
You also mentioned Morningstar, who plays C’s partner. The show loves to explore, including through Caleb and C’s familial relationship, how characters are forced to make choices and what’s at the core of their humanity. Will your two characters’ romantic relationship touch on that as well?
I don’t know if it explores that too much. When I first read, it was like, “OK, this does feel a little bit like that kind of relationship,” but I think as it goes on, we’re the yin and yang to each other. We both keep each other level-headed because I think we’re both a little bit ready to go at any time. I think that’s what makes them fun to be together. They have a very sweet relationship.
“The Western does not include Indigenous ideas and truths,” Podemski said. “It served a function of conquering the West. There was a mythology to it. And this is really a neo-Western that is turning that mythology upside-down. I don’t think I could’ve gone into a traditional Western world. I’ve been fighting too hard in my fight for representation in television and in Hollywood. This is the work that I’m meant to do.”
Added Angeline: “A part of it is definitely reclaiming and trying to twist the genre. Natives don’t just have to be the horse-riders, but we can also be the other side of these things.”
by The Hollywood Reporter
Josh Brolin premiered his new Amazon Western drama series at Harmony Gold on Thursday, alongside costars Imogen Poots, Lili Taylor, Tamara Podemski, Morningstar Angeline, Joy Lewis Pullman Shaun Sipos and creator Brian Watkins.
A multi-hyphenate artist, MorningStar Angeline is quietly helping to shift stories about Indigenous people in Hollywood. Earlier this year, Angeline (who uses she/they pronouns) starred in The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw, a sweet indie flick about a hat-designing dreamer who gets a second chance at bonding with her family when she’s called home to her community on a remote island to help care for her ailing mother. Next, they star in Amazon Studios’ Outer Range, where they play an Indigenous woman who has a wife and a daughter. To Angeline’s knowledge, it may be the first story about married Indigenous women on a major platform. It’s a story that not only opened a conversation about Angeline’s identity but also made them feel seen.
A graduate of the 2020 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs, the semi-autobiographical feature from the acclaimed Miss Navajo helmer focuses on a 12-year old city kid who is sent under protest to live on his grandmother’s ranch. The experience on the Navajo reservation opens young Benny’s eyes to his own family and history, as well as that of his Indigenous culture."
‘Outer Range’: Olive Abercrombie Set As Series Regular; Will Patton, Matthew Maher & MorningStar Angeline To Recur In Amazon Series
...“EXCLUSIVE: Olive Abercrombie (The Haunting of Hill House) has been cast as a series regular and Will Patton (Yellowstone), Matthew Maher (Mozart in the Jungle) and MorningStar Angeline (Drunktown’s Finest) are set for recurring roles in Amazon series Outer Range, starring Josh Brolin.
Outer Range centers on Royal Abbott (Brolin), a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness..."
..."Morningstar Angeline’s performance is the standout in what is generally a cast of competent performers. Her balance between frustration, listlessness, wry humor and compassion is perfect for this quiet film about self-discovery.
The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw is an intimate portrait of a young woman finding herself and one that cuts across cultural lines. It’s a warm, endearing dramedy that will rope you in from the opening scenes..."
By VINCENT SCHILLING
..."We specifically, as Indigenous people, I think we get to a cliff, then we look down and there's just all this empty space and we're not quite sure how to get to the other end cause we haven't seen people we know do it,” Angeline said. “I think Hollywood makes it seem like it's a super-elite world, but really, and this is specifically to Indigenous people. It's a small circle and, I have found, a very supportive circle. So when you're just getting started, there's actually a lot of people and a lot of resources that want to see you succeed as an Indigenous filmmaker and storyteller. There's certainly a lot of rejection within the world, but once you accept that that is a part of the game and everyone's going through that, and it’s not just you, then that gap just becomes so much smaller..."
by Native News Online
...Mitzi Bearclaw, portrayed by Chippewa queer actress Morningstar Angeline (Drunktown’s Finest), has dreams of making it in the fashion industry and changing the world with her custom designed hats. Based in Toronto, the hatmaker soon finds herself called back to her isolated reserve in southwest Canada. There, Mitzi is reacquainted with childhood friends and bullies, her docile father and invalid mother, played by Billy Merasty (Cree descent) and Gail Maurice (Saskatchewan Métis). With the help of her best friend Charlie B and crush Honeyboy, portrayed by Andrew Martin (Mohawk Nation) and Ajuawak Kapashesit (White Earth Ojibwe descendant and Cree), Mitzi learns to overcome her insecurities and strained relationship with her bitter, unsupportive mother."
MorningStar Angeline is a jack-of-all-trades. When it comes to film and TV, this Indigenous woman does it all. You may recognize Angeline from her roles in Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” Netflix’s “Chambers,” or HBO’s “This Much I Know Is True.” While she has enjoyed success in front of the camera, she also has worked behind the camera and has a lot of experience and accomplishments to her name, including: assistant director, camera, casting, producing, screenwriting, and working in location departments.
Angeline is a queer Diné, Blackfoot, Chippewa, and Latinx woman who worked her way into the film industry after growing up in two “worlds” due to divorced parents. Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she was introduced to theater at a young age in school but never quite found her place in it. When she relocated with family from New Mexico to California, she was exposed to even more of the industry over the years. By college she had been exposed to more theater, acting, and behind-the-scenes work...
by GABRIEL BIADORA
...“YÁ’ÁT’ÉÉH ABINÍ” by Morningstar Angeline was my favorite of the mix. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a virus, where a young woman survives after the death of her father, her only companion. Although the film never specifies the virus, it is a clear allusion to the current state of the Navajo Nation and the Indigenous population as they fight one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the country.
Angeline captured a haunting and reflective tone as our solitary hero ventures and encounters the destruction of the virus across the lonely desert. The story wasn’t without hope, though, as she finds the strength to persist through the legacy left behind by her late father.
The BITESIZE Film Festival spotlighted not only the remarkable passion and skill of local filmmakers, but also the stories New Mexicans can hold, bond over and be proud to share...
by JASON ASENAP
...Angeline’s directorial debut, Yá'át'ééh Abiní, a deeply personal, dystopian short created with assistance from the Sundance Institute, was in the middle of a now halted festival run. When it returns, the film will seem even more prescient, telling the story of a Navajo elder’s death and his daughter who is left to endure during a pandemic on the Navajo Nation. “I thought it would mirror reality in five years to ten years—not within the year,” Angeline says.
Angeline was the lead in two feature-length films that screened in 2019 at the Imagine-Native film festival, in Toronto: Blackhorse Lowe’s Fukry and Shelley Niro’s The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzi Bearclaw. Although the films await streaming platform releases, the two comedies showcase Angeline’s range as an actor.
If Angeline ranks among New Mexico’s Indigenous up-and-comers, Emerson might be the grande dame...
by JASON ASENAP
...Mitzi is played by Santa Fe-born Morningstar Angeline, who was a lead in “Drunktown’s Finest,” a movie by Navajo director Sydney Freeland, her elder sister. Morningstar Angeline is effervescent and charming here. Mitzi is different from many of her past roles: In “Drunktown’s Finest,” she played Nizhoni, a girl in search of her birth parents. In Lakota/Navajo filmmaker Razelle Benally’s short film “Raven,” she played a young mother mourning her lost child. Her role in Vincent D’Onofrio’s “The Kid” is listed as simply “Young Whore.” Suffice it to say that Angeline rarely gets to cut loose and play roles like Mitzi. She sets the tone at the beginning: Right before Mitzi and her boyfriend are about to feed a group of hungry people in a park, she chuckles and teases him, “Look at you, all serious.” It’s refreshing to hear, because we know Mitzi’s sass is going to keep us on our toes.
As entertaining as the movie is, there’s a lot of sickness in it. Mitzi’s diabetic mother hints at her own disease by saying, “Sugar gets everyone.” Mitzi’s cousin, Charlie B., gets progressively worse from an undisclosed illness throughout the movie. Cayuga actor Gary Farmer, a Santa Fe resident, shows up, but then we attend his character’s funeral later on in the movie. He, too, must have been sick. Director Shelley Niro gets that life is full of such experiences, but stays committed to a comedic tone. She deals with the sad events, but keeps the movie moving forward...
by RICK ROMANCITO
“Raven” by Razelle Benally [is] skillfully photographed and professionally acted by Morningstar Angeline, the film is a heartbreaking examination of one woman’s fateful decision.
We first see her riding a motorcycle on a winter’s day. She stops in a forest, hears raven, gets off her bike and walks to a tree. There, she sets down a backpack and takes out a pair of child’s moccasins and a copy of a sonogram.
Digs a hole, and puts the items in. There is much more, but you’ll have to see what happens next. The mood in this piece is tragic, but there is an undercurrent of hope...
...November is Native American Heritage Month and Jade Begay (Diné, Tesuque Pueblo) is the Santa Fe Found guest curator. In this interview, Jade speaks with actor, filmmaker, and writer MorningStar Angeline about her experience as an indigenous woman in the film industry.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO LIVE IN SANTA FE AS AN ADULT?
While I was born in Santa Fe, my family moved to Gallup, NM when I was two, and that is where I attended elementary school and spent most of my time growing up. Through the end of elementary and into college I lived in the Los Angeles area but always spent every summer in New Mexico. In 2013 I was working in LA as a photographer and film PA when I was cast in Drunktown's Finest. It was then that my eyes were opened to the NM film industry and I found new hope in pursuing my career as an actor. I moved back to New Mexico within 3 months of wrapping the film...