Seminars & Workshops

Don’t Miss Two Full Days and Two Half Days of Seminars and Special Guest Speakers!

Thursday May 12 and Friday May 13 at Crazy Horse Memorial & Saturday May 14 and Sunday May 15 at Slate Creek Grille
9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Sessions include: Scriptwriting, Acting, Distribution and Financing, and more. Check back for more details to come!


Chris Eyre, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma, received his MFA from New York University’s prestigious Graduate Film Program and is best known for his authentic portrayals of the contemporary life and culture of indigenous people. After his film Smoke Signals won the Audience Award and Filmmaker’s Trophy at Sundance in 1998, his successes led to People Magazine calling Chris Eyre “…the preeminent Native American filmmaker of his time.”  Geoff Gilmore, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, has simply called him “a great American Filmmaker.”  In 2004 his film Edge of America won many more awards, including a Peabody Award, a Writer’s Guild Award, a Humanitus Prize, and finally, Mr. Eyre received the highly prestigious DGA (Director’s Guild of America) Award for outstanding directorial achievement.  Mr. Eyre has produced features and documentaries for the Smithsonian Institution and for PBS, was named a 2007 USA Rockefeller Foundation Fellow and was called by United States Artists one of the 50 most important American artists of 2008.

Sean C. Covel grew up in the small ranching town of Edgemont, South Dakota, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in media business and theater.   Mr. Covel was accepted for one of 25 coveted openings in the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts; graduating with a Masters in Motion Picture Producing in 2002.  In 2003 Mr. Covel teamed with fellow Peter Stark Alum, Chris “Doc” Wyatt, to produce Napoleon Dynamite. Made for only $400,000, the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and quickly sold to Fox Searchlight and MTV Films. The picture went on to make $46 million at the box office and over $120 million on DVD, making it one of the most profitable independent films in history. Napoleon Dynamite has won several awards including Best Feature at the MTV Movie Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Aspen Comedy Arts Festival and the Blockbuster Movie Awards.  The duo has since produced six films including CAFÉ, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jaime Kennedy and Alexa Vega.

Kristin Donnan Standard has written professionally in many capacities, and is the author of screenplays, books, and dozens of magazine articles. She holds a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute, and received a Bush Fellowship in Scriptworks. Two of her feature screenplays have either been optioned or are currently represented by William Morris Endeavor, and others are in process. Ms. Standard is also a co-creator / producer for a reality television series, Raiding Rex, currently under consideration for development.  Ms. Standard has contributed to script development for educational documentaries, researched stories and held the position of Production Coordinator at NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries, and worked as an assistant agent at William Morris.  She co-created and currently edits a regional art and culture magazine; formerly held editorial posts at both McCall’s and Good Housekeeping magazines; and co-authored two non-fiction books about paleontology.

Alexa Vega Black Hills Film FestivalAlexa Vega made her first movie appearance in Little Giants, starring as the six-year-old daughter of Ed O’Neill. In 1996, Vega starred as young Jo Harding in Twister. She guest-starred in numerous television shows and films, including ER, Follow the Stars Home, Ghost Whisperer, and The Bernie Mac Show. She became known worldwide in 2001 for her role as Carmen Cortez in Spy Kids. The first Spy Kids movie was a huge success, and subsequently two sequels, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over were filmed. During the shooting of the three films, she performed most of her own stunts. In 2003, she was named one of that year’s hottest teen celebrities in Vanity Fair. In 2004, Vega finished filming two films: Sleepover and State’s Evidence, and in the following year starred in a made-for-television drama entitled Odd Girl Out as a victim of cyber-bullying. She also filmed for another made-for-TV movie, Walkout. In June 2006, she finished filming Remember the Daze, which came out to limited theaters in April 2007. She also finished filming Repo! the Genetic Opera, which was released in 2008. Vega has also been confirmed as the lead role in Helix, written and directed by Aram Rappaport, which began filming in Chicago in March 2008. Vega was originally cast in Robert Rodriguez‘s Shorts, however, due to her being in Australia for the filming of Broken Hill, she had to be recast. She was replaced by Kat Dennings.  In 2009, she played Ruby Gallagher on the ABC Family television sitcom Ruby & The Rockits, which also starred Patrick & David Cassidy.  Vega made her Broadway debut in Hairspray in 2007.

Senior Vice President of Production Services at Warner Bros. Studios, Norman Barnett oversees twenty departments at the Burbank studios, including Property, Set Lighting and Transportation. Prior to his current position, Mr. Barnett managed WB Post Production Sound, overseeing Dubbing, Editorial, Scoring, ADR, Foley and DVD Re-mastering. He began his career in the industry as an actor and model primarily performing in commercials. For many years he worked both in front of and behind the camera. When not acting he became skilled in many technical positions from electrical and grip to transportation and sound; ultimately transitioning into production and producing commercials. In 1978 he joined Raleigh Studios and was promoted to President in 1990. In 1995 Barnett was hired by Warner Bros. Mr. Barnett will speak to audiences and filmmakers on Saturday at Hill City High School.

Adam Moore serves as Associate National Director of Affirmative Action & Diversity for Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and leads its New York office. He oversees SAG’s national diversity plan to achieve accurate representation of those groups historically excluded from the entertainment media. Such efforts include creating educational programs, conferences, and workshops; developing public relations strategies; and enforcing the Guild’s diversity initiatives. Mr. Moore facilitates dozens of panel discussions and guest lectures at colleges and high schools throughout the U.S. Under his leadership SAG representatives will present on Saturday in Hill City.

Ann Sward Hansen has been an actress and entertainer for 30 years and has worked professionally in theatre, broadcast television and film in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Utah. She played Lyla on CBS’ As the World Turns for 13 years. Ms. Sward Hansen has been an officer of the Screen Actors Guild Utah Branch for 12 years and is serving on the SAG National Board. She works with SAG INDIE promoting independent filmmakers and is a founding member of the SAG President’s National Task Force for American Indians. She is currently the film acting instructor at Utah Valley and Brigham Young Universites. She will present on Saturday with SAG representatives.

Brían Wescott, Co-Vice-Chair of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) President’s Task Force for American Indians, belongs to the Koyukon tribe of Alaska. Mr. Wescott has played for the Columbia Actors Repertory Theatre and the California Center for the Arts. He made his feature debut in a comedy starring Graham Green and Wes Studi, and also appears in Indians: An Unexpected Story for director Chris Eyre. This fall, he will play opposite Irene Bedard for the Alaska Federation of Natives. Mr. Wescott co-executive produced SAG’s recent video American Indian Actors and will present on Saturday in Hill City.

Graham Thatcher, Ph.D. is the Artistic Director and primary performer for Periaktos Productions of Rapid City. Dr. Thatcher has performed in or directed more than 150 community, university and professional theatre productions. He is the co-author and solo performer in Clarence Darrow: Crimes, Causes and the Courtroom, Maxims, Monarchy and Sir Thomas More and Impeach Justice Douglas! toured by Periaktos Productions. He is the co-author and director of Thurgood Marshall’s Coming! and The Women Lawyers Club. He has authored several other theatrical plays, including The Mask of the Jaguar. Dr. Thatcher will perform for the Table Readings on Friday.

Dr. Craig Howe directs the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies in Martin, SD and is a faculty member in Graduate Studies at Oglala Lakota College. He has served as deputy assistant director for cultural resources at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and was director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Dr. Howe will lead the public discussions following the films on Saturday at Crazy Horse Memorial.