KCET and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians will honor American Indian/Alaskan men and women or Indian Nations who are dedicating their lives to improving and enriching our local community through the arts, business, cultural/language preservation, business and social services.

“I don’t like the way the outside world sees us. When I saw Goodfellas I thought, ‘I wanna be that powerful guy… I want people to look at Indians and think, I want to be that guy.'” – Ian Skorodin

Ian Skorodin is an iconic American Indian filmmaker and philanthropist who has produced award-winning films and television programs with an American Indian point of view since the early 1990’s. Before he even graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Skorodin had already completed his award-winning feature film, Tushka. It premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Feature at the 1998 Arizona International Film Festival. Skorodin took the reins as the first American Indian film director, and has produced films that have gained him distribution and considerable accolades at film festivals around the world.

Ian Skorodin
Ian Skorodin

In addition to his film work, in 1994 Skorodin founded the Barcid Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the causes of indigenous people. The foundation is in the process of preserving archival American Indian materials that are located on microfiche and microfilm. The archives will be indexed and posted online for all to access. The company also works closely with the community providing multimedia production for tribal award shows and historical centers.

Two years later, in 1996, Skorodin combined his community work with his love for filmmaking and to create the LA Skins Fest. Skorodin started this American Indian film festival to offer opportunities for American Indians to showcase their talent and gain distribution. The festival, which is sponsored by major networks such as Fox and NBC, is completely free to attend and has no submission fee for filmmakers. In 2009, the festival also started a scholarship fund. Recognizing the importance of investing in our youth, Skorodin not only created an additional youth program for the LA Skins Fest, but has also taught at the Weengushk Film Institute in M’Chigeeng, Canada.

Between his production company and foundation, Skorodin finds time to be an active participant with the Native American Commission of the County of Los Angeles. Here, Skorodin identifies and works with American Indian children in foster care and facilitates opportunities with tribal families and American Indian organizations.

Skorodin recently taught a workshop at the Cherokee International Film Festival and is currently planning for the 2010 LA Skins Festival which begins November 19-21. Skorodin will continue to work on his next feature film and plans to direct film and television projects on the studio level in the near future.