Cherokee Nation enters partnership with OSU-Tulsa for film education scholarships

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A tribal nation has entered new partnership that aims to build educational opportunities to support Oklahoma’s rapidly expanding film industry.

The Cherokee Nation Film Office is now partnering with Oklahoma State University-Tulsa to provide tribal citizens with artistic and career opportunities to develop unique stories.

“Film and television production is one of the most promising and rapidly growing industries in the state of Oklahoma,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We are determined to ensure Cherokee Nation continues to offer every element for success, especially a diverse and driven workforce. That is absolutely necessary to support the industry’s growing needs.”

OSU-Tulsa is currently expanding its public, noncredit workshops for screenwriting, filmmaking and production skills with a for-credit film program in development that will create a new, state-of-the-art, hands-on learning experience at OSU-Tulsa. 

“As film and television productions continue to choose Oklahoma for their projects, we want them to have an experienced workforce to hire from here in Tulsa,” said Dr. Johnny Stephens, interim president of OSU-Tulsa and president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences. “Our noncredit workshops and our future plans for film programming are focused on being hands-on and pragmatic as well as academic.”

The Cherokee Nation Film Office is helping fund necessary film equipment, including cameras, lenses, sound gear, lighting, and other film essentials.

“Screen studies, along with Native American Studies, is a strong area in our English department, so my colleagues and I are excited about the opportunity to add new courses in film production and screenwriting in Tulsa. In addition, our colleagues in Media and Strategic Communications have a new entertainment media degree option, so we look forward to collaborating to serve students and the community,” said Lindsey Smith, Director of the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa. “We have so many art institutions in the city to partner with, as well as a variety of industry professionals who are interested in sharing their experience and building the local workforce. And of course, we are so grateful for the many ways that the Cherokee Nation remains a strong partner of Oklahoma State University.”

The tribe and its film office are also partnering with the university to provide several scholarships for noncredit filmmaking workshops. The assistance is available to any citizen of a federally recognized tribe.

“Oklahoma’s television and film production industries continue to grow at an exceptional pace, and we are pleased to serve a role in helping educate, prepare and connect a workforce capable of supporting that growth,” said Jennifer Loren, director of Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content. “We are very proud to partner with OSU-Tulsa in this endeavor, as well as to further our mission to promote diversity, inclusion and accurate Native American representation at every level of television and film.”

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