Sundance 2023 Girls Administrators: Meet Rebecca Landsberry-Baker – “Dangerous Press”
Rebecca Landsberry-Baker is a Sundance Institute Documentary Movie Program grantee, Ford Basis JustFilms grantee, and a 2022 NBC Unique Voices Fellow. She is a 2022 Gotham Documentary Characteristic Lab Fellow and was chosen to the Harvard Shorenstein Information Leaders Fall 2022 cohort. She is an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee Nation and the chief director of the Native American Journalists Affiliation, a nonprofit group advocating for correct protection and illustration of Indigenous folks in media. Landsberry-Baker is a 2018 recipient of the Nationwide Middle for American Indian Enterprise Growth’s Native American 40 Beneath 40 award.
“Dangerous Press” is screening on the 2023 Sundance Movie Pageant, which runs from January 19-29. The movie is co-directed by Joe Peeler.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
RLB: “Dangerous Press” paperwork the battle without cost press within the Muscogee Nation and follows tenacious reporter Angel Ellis and a hilarious crew of fellow Indigenous journalists as they experience a tribal politics rollercoaster.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
RLB: In my former life as a print editor at Mvskoke Media, I skilled censorship within the newsroom alongside our movie’s individuals, a lot of whom are fellow Muscogee residents and journalists. Tribal media face distinctive challenges in overlaying their very own communities, together with often “slaying heroes,” as journalist Angel Ellis places it, so this story may be very private to me.
Throughout my time as a member, and finally as government director of the Native American Journalists Affiliation (NAJA), I’ve witnessed tribal journalists being censored for unfavorable protection, so I wished to inform the Muscogee journalists’ story of the battle without cost press in Indian Nation. I’m so grateful they’ve trusted me to share it with the world.
W&H: What would you like folks to consider after they watch the movie?
RLB: For each my fellow residents and a broader viewers, It was necessary for me to spotlight how an impartial media can strengthen tribal sovereignty as a result of it gives accountability, transparency, and finally empowers knowledgeable decision-making amongst the folks.
W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?
RLB: Filming over the course of three full years from 2019-2021 with a group that had different full-time jobs — together with me — whereas we adopted this story was significantly difficult, particularly throughout the peak of the pandemic. We additionally had three infants born between the 5 producers, together with my daughter, Rosie, to my husband and producer Garrett Baker and me, over the course of manufacturing. Juggling childcare with directing and my full-time job with NAJA continues to be a every day problem!
W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.
RLB: Our group has obtained grants from Ford Basis, the Sundance Institute Documentary Movie Program, 2022 NBC Information Unique Voices Fellowship, and funding by way of fairness investments.
W&H: What impressed you to turn out to be a filmmaker?
RLB: With my background in journalism and connection to this story and our individuals, documenting the battle without cost press actually grew to become my duty as a member of this group. Now that I’ve skilled how highly effective and impactful this type of storytelling might be, I need to encourage different Indigenous journalists to discover documentary filmmaking as a method to share the pressing, nuanced, and entertaining tales which can be already right here in our Indigenous communities.
W&H: What’s the very best and worst recommendation you’ve obtained?
RLB: Any time I used to be discouraged from pursuing one thing necessary to me — whether or not that was a narrative I wished to write down in The Muscogee Nation Information in my early profession or now to “airing the tribe’s soiled laundry” in a function documentary — I’ve at all times additionally been motivated by being underestimated. I find it irresistible when somebody tells me I can’t do one thing as a result of I’m too younger — don’t hear that one a lot anymore, haha — or too inexperienced.
Indigenous persons are scrappy AF and we’ll discover a method to succeed!
W&H: What recommendation do you’ve for different ladies administrators?
RLB: As a first-time or early-career filmmaker, don’t let your inexperience maintain you again from telling the tales which can be most necessary to you. Your views are important to the variety of the media panorama and to storytelling that’s consultant of the distinctive female expertise. We’d like you!
W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
RLB: I’ll use this area to amplify fellow Indigenous director Erica Tremblay (Seneca-Cayuga Nation) who can even be premiering her function movie “Fancy Dance” on the 2023 Sundance Movie Pageant. I’d love to fulfill her!
W&H: What, if any, obligations do you suppose storytellers must confront the tumult on this planet, from the pandemic to the lack of abortion rights and systemic violence?
RLB: Storytellers are important to the understanding of essential societal points as a result of they contextualize data and doc key moments in our dwelling historical past. As journalists and documentarians, we completely have a duty to point out the human influence of coverage and decision-making by the elected leaders who’re entrusted to guard our greatest pursuits.
W&H: The movie trade has an extended historical past of underrepresenting folks of coloration onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — destructive stereotypes. What actions do you suppose have to be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?
RLB: Incentivize hiring and supporting BIPOC above- and below-the-line expertise by way of new and expanded funding alternatives, mentorships, and culturally related applications that intention to foster private growth in storytelling broadly, not simply in filmmaking — creatively, financially, virtually, and spiritually. Present psychological well being and childcare help and stipends for these with households!
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