Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media Receives Global Commendation

Collaboration with Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Lieutenant Governor’s Office Spotlights State’s Inclusivity   

DENVER -- The Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media (COFTM) received global recognition for its short film entry during the Makers & Shakers "Film Commission Initiative of the Year" award ceremony on December 14, 2020. The international panel of judges bestowed the commendation on Colorado’s entry among a highly-competitive international field of submissions. 

The honor was given to COFTM for its submission capturing young tribal members from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe telling their personal stories within the film medium and, by doing so, exposing them to new pathways to employment. The two-week intensive summer workshops were conducted by Colorado Film School (CFS) instructors and introduced Ute Mountain Ute students to filmmaking, culminating in the short film.

“We are humbled that Colorado’s inclusive stories have resonated so deeply,” said COFTM Director Donald Zuckerman. “Films tell our many stories, and it is immensely gratifying to see  filmmaking actually shape new chapters of inclusion and opportunity. We are indebted to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for making this project possible.” 

During its inaugural year, six high school students created a 9-minute documentary exploring the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park, which premiered at Denver International Film Festival and was invited to screen at Durango International and Breckenridge Film Festivals. After its Denver premiere the students were awarded with The Denver Academy’s Special Jury Prize.

A workshop took place July-August 2019 in Towaoc and students created a short documentary on the topic of ‘unity,’ focusing on Tribal traditions, culture and conversations with Elders.

This program began when COFTM toured the Ute Mountain Reservation with the Lt. Governor's Office in 2019. Although the workshops were suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19, the program will resume next summer. The COFTM is also in discussions to create a similar program aimed at Native communities in the Front Range.

“This award exemplifies the important partnership between our State and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.  Meaningful collaborations between state agencies and tribal partners can lead to projects that help our Native youth thrive, and preserve the rich, cultural heritage that our tribal communities hold dear. I’m looking forward to seeing this program continue next summer,” said Lt. Governor Primavera.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s Chairman Manuel Heart added, “Congratulations to [COFTM] for receiving this award. The choices we make are for the future generations and this film highlights the importance of teaching our traditions and songs to our children. We have come a long way from our past history and we have a long way to go to ensure a better future for our children.”

Makers and Shakers awards are decided by a panel of judges made up of industry professionals from around the world including executives from Warner Bros, Netflix, and the Locations Manager Guild International. There are over 1,000 film commissions across the globe.