By Kayla Bointy
Two short films made by Haskell Students are being featured at the Free State Film festival. The student films will be shown at 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm, September 23; Admission is Free! The film Did Anything Wrong was a complete Haskell effort, and has already achieved such accolades as the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 American Indian Higher Education Consortium. Filmed, produced, and written entirely on Haskell campus. Starring Haskell Students now alumni; Damon Peak (Main Actor) Keaton Guess (detective 1) Roman Yearby (rookie cop) Tylynn Broncho (bank teller) and Michael Begay (Director). Indian Leader interviewed their very own staff member Chris Talkalai; who wrote the film and goes by the nom de plume, Kriss Velvet.
KRISS VELVET /CHRIS TALKALAI
Graduated with an AA in Media Communications is currently a Junior in the IAIS program.
How do you feel about your work of art being featured?
Its surprising! I usually just write to write.
Congratulations, the film won the People’s Choice Award up at A.I.H.E.C, does this come as a surprise?
I was amazed we got any recognition, usually the first work you create is for fun. But after we won The People’s Choice Award it feels like I’ve earned that title of being a “writer”.
What was your inspiration and the process of writing this piece?
It took about a year and there were about nine to twelve rewrites.
I don’t think a lot about inspiration, this idea just came to my head. After the Welcome Back Powwow that’s where I originally intended it to be set, but after production started we moved it to the cultural center parking lot.
So, you wrote it with the intention of filming on Haskell?
Yes, I did.
Do you write everything with the intentions of it being made into a film?
I write outlines, not everything I write is in a screenplay or manuscript format. I’ve written a few theater scripts for thunderbird theatre rehearsals.
What made you want to make it into a film or how did it happen?
My roommate at the time, Michael Begay picked my script. I did a few rewrites, then we did a read through, later he pointed out some flaws in the story line, after that he added his additional notes and scenes. I wrote the main part and Michael came on as a co-writer during the story boarding process.
I know you wrote, collaborated and pieced it all together all in your room, so this was basically born in Roe Cloud. What’s your fondest memory from the making of the film?
(Laughs) Yeah after all the rewrites we had our whole dorm wall covered with the story board scenes throughout the project. The fondest memory was on filming the first day, where we filmed the cop car scene, we were there, had our script and storyboard, with the main actor. For me it was that moment of let’s stop talking about and do it. If you believe, you can make it happen.
Do you think you’ll be doing any Haskell collabs in the future?
Actually, we are working on something currently, we’re in the planning phase before pre- production. I just finished the short story for it.
It’s nice KU is highlighting student films however; do you think Haskell should have an outlet for their own student filmmakers?
The film club is working towards that, we’re just trying to get more people involved to hold film fests.
Do you have any plans after you graduate?
I think I’m going to stay in Lawrence, I have family coming here and I’m saving towards doing my own independent films.
Another film being highlighted made by a Haskell student is ANXIETY by Roberts Hicks Jr., Pyramid Lake Paiute; who is a Senior in the Indigenous American Indian Studies Program.