Movie Producer/ Director Steven Paul Judd returns to Haskell to unveil his newest short film as part of the 6th annual “Empowerment Summit.”
by Charlie Perry @CharlieHPerry
Lawrence KS- Haskell Indian Nations University students and community members were treated to the short film world premiere of “Ronnie Bodean” staring Wes Studi, to kick off the 6th annual Haskell “Empowerment Summit.” Producer and Director Steven Paul Judd took center stage at the Haskell auditorium to share stories about his journey from Haskell to Hollywood.
Judd had a vision for a film that revolved around an antihero showcasing Native Americans in a different light, “With ‘Ronnie Bodean’ I just wanted to tell a story of Natives that weren’t getting saved by non-Natives. I wanted to flip it on its head, and I also wanted to show the concept of an antihero on the screen. Antiheros have always been my favorite characters in film. Movies like ‘Bad Santa’ and ‘Austin Powers’ were always some of the most fun movies for me to watch.” The movie featured a rough and tough Wes Studi, who took two non-Native children under his wing after their mother was hauled off to jail.
Judd also showcased one of his earlier short films entitled, “The Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco.” The film followed the heroic and mystical journey of “3 Shades of Black,” as he embarked on his quest for the world’s most delicious fried delicacy. Judd spoke on his vision for the short film, “With the ‘Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco’ I used the Choctaw language. I made it a few years ago and up until then, anytime you saw the use of a Native language in media, it was used in historic context, or a documentary. I wanted to show that these Native languages are still used today and it can be funny and used in modern settings.”
Judd being alum of Haskell Indian Nations University took a moment to comment on how he first broke into filmmaking at the university, “Me and my friend Tvli Jacob actually shot a short film when we were here with other students. I was also in the Thunderbird Theater and did a play with them. I also took T.V. Production 1 here, so that was definitely the start of my budding film career.” Judd also had some advice for Haskell students interested in the arts, “The best advice I can give to anyone is to keep making stuff, be constant with it. If anyone sees some of my work and say’s “hey you should have done it this way,” I respond with you should make that film. I’m making mine and I’m trying to get better, but I’m not the only voice. Anyone that has a camera or even a cell phone, I would encourage them to just keep making stuff.
Native firm makers and artists populate a good portion of Indian Country, Judd commented on the importance of Native American filmmakers and his goals, “We’re a small percentage of the population, many Indian people know other Indian people, so it seems like we’re like a large population but we’re really not. I think for a long time Native stories were only told through one lens, and it was a non-Native lens. That’s changed a lot in the last few years. Now there are a ton of Native Americas getting involved in film making. I just want to do my part. I hope that I can make films a bit different than what people are used to seeing.”
If you are interested in learning more about Steven Paul Judd’s current projects please email him at email@example.com, catch him on Instagram @stevenpauljudd or on Facebook under Steven Paul Judd