IndiosDinnerRoberto-152x215
ABOUT THE WRITER

"Until I attended Creative Spirit New Mexico, I didn't realize how the filmmaking process could be so rigidly structured and scheduled," recalls Roberto A. Jackson (Gila River Indian Community). "The amount of preparation for our short film required an extensive amount of planning outside of working with the actors or blocking scenes. For a short film no less, there were copious amounts of documentation and pre-production. I'll never look at credits the same way again."

Jackson continues, "I didn't realize I could direct, but Creative Spirit New Mexico changed all of that for me. When the time came for me to don the title of 'Director,' I had angst and concern. Those feelings of apprehension dissipated as soon as I met the crew. No one was going to let me fail, and I was not about to fail any of them. In the future my filmmaking will be strengthened because I'll be composing stories with the hand of a screenwriter but with the eye of a director."
INDIOS PRIMEROS
(2009, 17 mins.)
Writer/Director: Roberto A. Jackson
Supervising Producer:
Tony Estrada
Executive Producers: Marjorie Neset and
James Lujan
Cast:
James Lujan, Eduardo Flores, Angeleah Cuevas, James Blackburn, Joshua Santana, Omar Zuniga

Onscreen: A reclusive Indian man must decide whether or not to get involved when a family of desperate illegal immigrants arrives on his doorstep.

Offscreen: Unlike the first year, when a script was developed in a workshop setting, the second year of Creative Spirit New Mexico joined its Los Angeles counterpart in a nationwide call for scripts. The eventual winner, Roberto A. Jackson's (Gila River Indian Community) inspiration for the title of the script came from none other than the founder of InterTribal Entertainment himself, Floyd Westerman. While attending the Fox American Indian Summer Institute in 2006, writer Roberto Jackson met Westerman and the two struck up a conversation about Indians north and south of the border near Jackson's Arizona reservation. Westerman told Jackson that borders shouldn't matter and that "we're all Indios Primeros," which is Spanish for "Indians first."

Casting for the lead actor proved to be the biggest challenge for the production. "At first, we approached a pretty well-known Native actor," recalls Exec Producer James Lujan. "But he was asking for more money than we were able to offer, and he was insisting on changes to the script that the writer wasn't comfortable with, even though Robert wrote the script with him in mind. The next actor we sought happened to be acting in a play the same weekend we were scheduled to shoot. It was less than a week before shooting and we were
IndiosWeb
scrambling. Then, a stroke of luck. An actor we had worked with before happened to be in town and he was available and interested in playing the role. We were saved. Or so I thought.

"The night before shooting, I get a call from our lead. He's in his doctor's office. He told me he slipped in the shower that morning and tore up his shoulder trying to break the fall. He assures me in the haze of painkillers that he's still capable of going through with the part, even though it's a physical role that requires a fight scene. I call up the writer and first-time director and he admits he doesn't know how we can go forward with our injured actor. After I talk to (Executive Director) Marj Neset, she gives me two choices: We have to cancel the production or find another actor.

"The first option wasn't practical because we had already spent two-thirds of the budget on our cast, supplemental crew and equipment rentals. The second option wasn't practical either because it was already 9pm and our call time was 7am the next morning and more than half of our lead actor's dialogue was in Spanish. There was no way I'd be able to find an actor under those circumstances. So, I took a deep breath, and came to terms with the fact that I've acted before, studied acting two years in college, almost majored in drama, appeared in six plays, and took three years of high school Spanish. So, with no preparation or rehearsal whatsoever, I decided the show must go on, took one for the team, stepped into the role and hopefully did a good job."

Film Festivals: 2010 Dreamspeakers Film Festival, 2010 Native Punx Short Films, 2010 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival (Best Short Film), 2010 American Indian Film Festival, 2011 Bellevue College American Indian Film Festival
IndiosDinnerRoberto-152x215
ABOUT THE WRITER

"Until I attended Creative Spirit New Mexico, I didn't realize how the filmmaking process could be so rigidly structured and scheduled," recalls Roberto A. Jackson (Gila River Indian Community). "The amount of preparation for our short film required an extensive amount of planning outside of working with the actors or blocking scenes. For a short film no less, there were copious amounts of documentation and pre-production. I'll never look at credits the same way again."

Jackson continues, "I didn't realize I could direct, but Creative Spirit New Mexico changed all of that for me. When the time came for me to don the title of 'Director,' I had angst and concern. Those feelings of apprehension dissipated as soon as I met the crew. No one was going to let me fail, and I was not about to fail any of them. In the future my filmmaking will be strengthened because I'll be composing stories with the hand of a screenwriter but with the eye of a director."