Cherokee Nation Film Office earns international recognition

TULSA, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation Film Office (CNFO) is being recognized on a global scale for its groundbreaking directories featuring Native American citizens.

CNFO recently won Film Commission Initiative of the Year during the 2022 Makers & Shakers Awards ceremony held at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts headquarters in London. The tribe’s film office was the only finalist from the United States to be nominated for the international honor.

“We are incredibly honored to accept this recognition, which is an absolute win for all of Indian Country,” said Jennifer Loren, senior director of Cherokee Nation Film and Original Content. “Representation matters, and it is vital that Indigenous people see themselves accurately and authentically represented in all forms of media across the globe. It is the inspiration that drives our mission and encourages our team to continue working diligently on new and proactive ways to engage and support Native talent across the film and television industry.”

Loren says they hope to grow TV and film in Oklahoma even more – and says they want native Americans in every level of the industry in front and behind the camera.

“The time is now there is a lot more streaming, there are more ways for people to have their stories told, for more people to be on the screen, to be writers behind the screen, you know and so we just want to continue creating initiatives to help all those people to continue doing that work,” she says.

Judges, including multinational business leaders, industry experts, past winners and other influential figures, selected the tribal film office for its ongoing effort to help Native Americans be fairly represented across mainstream media, as well as its role in the growth of Oklahoma’s film and television industry. The award highlights CNFO’s unique, all-inclusive talent, crew and consulting directories featuring Native actors, extras, crew and cultural experts, as well as Native-owned businesses and support services.

“This year’s winner has shown a thorough, transferable and important approach, which is so needed in the industry,” said the Makers & Shakers Judges Panel. “While this has been hard to achieve, they are leading the way for others to follow.”

The Film Commission Initiative of the Year award recognizes a local, regional or national film commission for its significant impact on its region. The 2022 finalists included CNFO, the Dominican Republic Film Commission, Film Queenstown Lakes, The National Film Authority of Ghana, Roma Lazio Film Commission, Trentino Film Commission and The Ukrainian Content.

“We’re seeing a sea change in the film and TV industries right now and being recognized on an international stage for our Native American directory, you know I think says a lot about the state of that change in the industry,” Loren says.