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Colorado Office of Film recognized for highlighting native voices

Recommended activities for the coming weeks


Never underestimate the power of storytelling. Not only can the art entertain and enlighten, but it helps keep histories alive — both personal and those of a group of people.

That’s why the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media received international acknowledgement for its entry in the Makers and Shakers “Film Commission Initiative of the Year” award ceremony this month. The office was recognized for the program it launched with young members of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in the southwest corner of the state - a program that created a film which told some of their stories and highlighted ways for young people to get into the industry.

“There were seven international entries in the category, and only three were from the US. And from all those entries, ours was the only one that wasn’t about a location - it was about inclusivity,” said Donald Zuckerman, director of the office. “We didn’t win the award, but we did receive a special commendation, and it was a great honor just to be recognized.”

The awards were selected out of more than 1,000 film submissions by judges that included executives from Warner Bros, Netflix and the Locations Manager Guild International.

In a provided statement, Manuel Heart, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s chairman said, “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.”

The partnership with the tribe began in 2018 after a visit to the area with the Lt. Governor’s office. When it became clear there was a lack of summer programs for high school students, the office decided to offer something that taught students about sharing stories and the film industry.

“We worked with the Colorado Film School in Aurora and sent three people there for two weeks, and while they were there, they worked with a half-dozen students on a nine-minute film,” Zuckerman said. “We were able to premiere that film at the Denver Film Festival. We invited the kids down and many had never been to Denver before - it was a really heartwarming moment.”

Like everything else this year, the program was impacted by COVID-19, but the aim is for it to return next summer. And the office is in conversations to create similar programs with other native communities around the state, according to provided information.

“We want people to feel included, and one of the reasons we launched the program was to include the native American population in what we do,” Zuckerman said. “We do a lot with education and take people all around the state to talk about how they got into the business, not just of film, but video games and any kind of content creation.”

Learn more about the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media at


See the inkwell used to end the Civil War

When Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Court House, the costliest war in America’s history finally came to an end. But the scars and legacies from that war still linger in American society, which means it’s more important than ever to be aware of the cost of turning on your countrymen.

The History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver, will be hosting a pop-up exhibition entitled Out of Many, One, from Jan. 7 through 20, featuring the inkwell Grant and Lee used to confirm the Confederacy’s defeat that day in April.

Visit to get tickets to see this piece of history.


Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Lord Huron’s Alive from Whispering Pines

Some music just sounds warm and can be transferred over the listener by some kind of sonic wizardry I don’t fully understand. Ben Schneider’s indie-folk group Lord Huron is one of the best in the business at this particular skill, and any of the group’s three albums are capable of taking you from your winter rest to places you’ve never been - but feel uncannily familiar.


To help fans get through this unusual winter, Lord Huron is kicking-off its Alive from Whispering Pines livestream series, with the first episode airing at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8. The series will offer audiences “intimate performances of old favorites, deep cuts and new twists on long lost classics.”

Get yourself a spot around the virtual fire at


Streaming style - ‘Until the Flood’

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company is partnering with ALL ARTS to host the broadcast premiere of “Until the Flood,” written by performance artist Dael Orlandersmith. The one-woman show is based on the murder of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson.

According to provided information, Orlandersmith conducted interviews with dozens of people who were affected by the shooting and its aftermath. From these conversations, she crafted her show.


Directed by Neel Keller, the powerful production is available for on-demand viewing until the fall of 2023. It can be streamed at, on the free ALL ARTS app and


Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at


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