Time: 12:30pm     Day: Thursday     Doors: 12:00pm     Ages: All Ages    
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The SAG-AFTRA Native Americans Committee presents this panel, featuring some of the most recognized Native American filmmakers, actors and casting directors working today.  The discussion will focus on the growing and diverse portrayals of Native Americans in film, television and new media.  Native filmmakers are creating their own projects and challenging traditional stereotyped portrayals, often bringing Native American characters into a modern light. The panel will also focus on the role of New Mexico as a hub of production for Native-themed projects, ranging from Longmire to the pilot Scalped adapted from a DC Comic book series.


From small-town Oklahoma native to internationally acclaimed actor and musician, Wes Studi credits his passion and multi-faceted background for his powerful character portrayals that forever changed a Hollywood stereotype. Within a few years of his arrival in Hollywood, Studi caught the attention of the public in Dances with Wolves (1990). In 1992, his powerful performance as "Magua" in The Last of the Mohicans (1992) established him as one of the most compelling actors in the business.

Studi has since appeared in more than 80 film and television productions, including Geronimo: An American Legend (1993), Being Flynn (2012), Avatar (2009), Comanche Moon (2008), Streets of Laredo (1995), Mystery Men (1999), Kings (TV Series), The New World (2005), Hell on Wheels (2011), Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) and Seraphim Falls (2006). He also brought Tony Hillerman's "Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn" to life in a series of PBS specials produced by Robert Redford: Skinwalkers (2002), Coyote Waits (2003), and A Thief of Time (2004).

Wes is the recipient of the AFME 2017 Impact Award.

Sydney Freeland is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Her debut feature, Drunktown’s Finest, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to receive the Jury Prize at LA Outfest and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. She also directed the web-series Her Story, which received an Emmy nomination and won a Gotham Award. Her second feature, Deidra and Laney Rob A Train, is a Netflix Original film and premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film

Sydney is an alum of the Sundance NativeLab, Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab, Sundance Director’s Lab, and Sundance Women’s Fellowship. She is also a Time Warner and Ford Fellowship recipient.


Angelique began her career in casting in the laten 1990's after working internationally as an actress and discovering an intrigue for the casting process.  She spent many successful years working in Los Angeles, and in 2005 relocated back to Santa Fe.  In addition to casting every character type, Angelique has developed a special niche for Native American Casting and prides herself on preserving accuracy and integrity in cultural casting while recognizing the value of creative freedom. In 2010, she was nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Casting for a miniseries, Movie or a Special" for Georgia O'Keeffe - and in 2017, she was nominated for an Aritos Award for location casting for "Captain Fantastic." She is a current member of the Casting Society of America (CSA) and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Catharine Pilafas (SAG-AFTRA) is an award-winning director, actor, teaching artist, and choreographer. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting and minor in Dance from the University of Northern Colorado. After making her New York theatre debut in Victory Garden's Off-Broadway production of Conviction, Catharine shifted her career focus to film and television in New Mexico. Select onscreen credits include: The Night Shift seasons 1,2,3, Preacher, Ridiculous Six, Independence Day: Resurgence, Manhattan and Longmire.

Catharine was awarded the Best Director honors for her short film, Pinky Promise, at the international Different Faces Different Voices Film Festival. Her second directing project, Seagull, an all-female WWII drama will be released in 2017. She recently was awarded 1st place in the Chimaera Project's In (H)er (D)irection Film Competition.

Off stage and set, Catharine is a Hatha-flow yoga instructor. Her favorite pastime is to play alongside her husband, the author, Adam James Jones, and their pug, Tobey. For news updates, stay connected at