TULSA, OK – The Cherokee Nation and its film office celebrated the world premiere of Fancy Dance, the first recipient of the tribe’s film incentive. The film recently debuted at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, as a finalist in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Filmed in the Cherokee Nation Reservation, the film features Native American talent and crew while illustrating important and current issues faced by Indigenous women, children and their families.
“The future is bright for filmmaking in the Cherokee Nation as we are quickly becoming a leading hub for Indigenous storytellers in film and television,” said Jennifer Loren, Senior Director of Cherokee Film. “We are extremely proud to offer our film incentive and services to such incredible projects as Fancy Dance that deliver accurate, current and unique Native storylines while featuring Native Americans both above and below the line.”
Utilization of the Cherokee Nation Film Incentive translated to significant expenditures paid to Native-owned businesses, as well as wages paid to Native American citizens. In addition to its director and co-writers, more than 40 percent of the film’s roles, both in front of and behind the camera, were also fulfilled by Natives.
“We are so grateful to the Cherokee Nation Film Office,” said Fancy Dance Director, Co-Writer and Producer Erica Tremblay. “They have supported Fancy Dance at every step along the way, and they remain committed to helping our film succeed.”
Based on a script by Erica Tremblay and Miciana Alise, the film stars Lily Gladstone from Killers of the Flower Moon. Produced by Deidre Backs, Heather Rae, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Tommy Oliver and Confluential Films, Fancy Dance was developed and produced with the support of the Cherokee Nation Film Incentive, Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Directors Lab, Creative Producing Lab and Indigenous Intensive, as well as the Tulsa Film Fund.
In early 2022, Cherokee Nation and its businesses launched a powerful economic tool within the tribe’s reservation and expanded its effort to help grow the film and television industries in Oklahoma when Cherokee Nation Film Office became the first tribal film commission to offer an annual $1 million film incentive for productions filmed within its tribe’s boundaries.