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Filmmaker Carlisle Antonio Connects Audience by Relating to Stories He Tells

Director and Producer Carlisle Antonio

“Filmmaking is really the telling of stories in a format that can be understood by everyone and anyone,” said filmmaker, producer, and CEO of Red Man Films Carlisle Antonio.

Antonio has quite the future ahead of him, with several unique and impactful projects that he is very excited about. The first project, Indians in the 21st Century, is the documenting on film the contemporary lives of Native Americans across the United States.

“Where ‘Edward Curtis’ made popular the photography of the 500 plus American Indian nations, we are attempting to update that with a modern day look at the lives and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas,” said Antonio.

Antonio’s family family origins are from the Northern Cheyenne and Oglala Lakota Nations.

“I guess it’s a natural order of things for me to work in,” he said.

Dr. Will Moreau Goins, a well-known and beloved Native American American storyteller, has worked with Antonio for the last 15 years, and they will be reuniting to working on Indians in the 21st Century. Goins is CEO of Native Talent, Inc., and sponsors the Annual Native American Indian Film & Video Festival of the Southeast.

“I look forward to the innovative fresh look at Indian County that Carlisle will bring to us by way of film and video in this new endeavour,” said Goins. “Artistically he is innovative and thinks ‘outside of the box’. He has great insight into Native American Indian and diverse cultures as fostered by his authentic experiences within those cultures.”

Although Antonio is excited and inspired by the project, he is incredibly versatile and adept at storytelling, and has written many screenplays that do not involve First Nations.

“I think as a Filmmaker and world traveler, I have been exposed to a lot of different people, stories, and cultures that present a wealth of characters and ideas that inspire me,” he described. “The process of being creative doesn’t belong to a set of genres or race, and within that I find a freedom to be able to navigate my way through where this process may take me. Whilst I am immediately drawn to the cultures of my people, I am also drawn to the stories of the road and the people that I have met and continue to meet along the way.”

This remains true for the upcoming project Shadow Wolf, which Antonio gets to look forward to. It is a powerful action packed movie set in the US and the great Australian outback.

“This film will set a new precedent in international filmmaking and help to build bridges between the US and the Australian film industry,” described Antonio.

Beyond that, Antonio is set to work on a third project this year, another documentary Walking the Line. The film is about the endemic problems of teenage suicides in Indian Country.

“Filmmaking is the highest form of creativity that we as human beings possess because it is totally dependent upon a creative process whether it’s in the writing, or the characterization, or the design, or the story, with the combination of technology and the science of camera, sound and lighting, all brought together in a package that somehow fits into a cohesive structure created through sheer creativity,” he described. “To imagine a story in your head with complex characters and then to be able to write that story down and have it make sense, and then to bring those characters to life in a coherent form is frustrating, exhilarating, soul destroying and intensely painful at times.”

Antonio has been involved both in front of the camera as an actor and behind the camera as a producer, director, photographer and filmmaker for over 20 years. His documentary, Coloring the Media, won a Millennium Award and premiered in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America.

He has worked with Turner Networks Television, Walt Disney, BBC, Miramax Films and was appointed overseas Tribal Ambassador by the Crow Creek Sioux Nation, and yet, he still runs into challenges.

“As an independent filmmaker, it sometimes feels like you are battling the world in trying to explain what it is that you seek to attain and the passion that you have in the telling of your story, whether its fact as in documentary or fictionalized drama,” he concluded. “But it’s like nothing else in the world”

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