Bird Runningwater: Indigenous Perspectives on Cinema
Director, Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program
Bird Runningwater serves as the director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program, overseeing the Native Filmmakers Lab, the Native Producers Fellowship, the Sundance Film Festival’s Native Forum, the Full Circle Initiative and was recently appointed to co-lead the Institute’s Outreach and Inclusion work across all programs.
Under Runningwater’s tenure, 140 different Indigenous filmmakers have been mentored and supported through Sundance, and more than 110 films written, directed and produced by Indigenous filmmakers have been curated by Runningwater to premiere at Sundance Film Festival. Runningwater currently serves on the Comcast/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council and on the Board of Directors of the First Peoples Fund; he is also a past member of the Board of Jurors for the George Foster Peabody Awards, and has served on competition juries for film festivals around the world. In Time magazine’s 2019 Optimist Issue, he was listed among “12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists,” and he is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s National Fellowship in Public Policy and International Affairs.
Before joining Sundance Institute, Runningwater served as executive director of the Fund of the Four Directions, and as program associate in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts, and Culture Program. A citizen of the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Tribes, he is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in journalism and Native American Studies, and he received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
(Note: This biography was up-to-date as of the date of the lecture. Biographies are not updated over time.)