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Representation matters. It matters because it impacts how we interact with our fellow Americans, the way that we educate our children, and it shapes our path forward as a democracy. Storytelling and filmmaking have suffered from a lack of representation of important groups that influenced American democracy, notably Native Americans. Native culture is rich, steeped in history and multifaceted, yet mainstream films do not often capture this nuance.


Please join us this November 21-24, 2019 for the Pocahontas Reframed “Storytellers” Film Festival to honor the contributions of Native Americans and reinvigorate conversations about telling stories of indigenous life. Pocahontas Reframed “Storytellers” Film Festival is a Legacy Project of American Evolution 2019 Commemoration.


Board of Directors

George Aguilar

George Aguilar is a Native American actor. He held major roles in many American Western movies and French films. He notably played in: Ulzana’s Raid…

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…( with Burt Lancaster) The Trial of Billy Jack, The Mystic Warrior, Out of Rosenheim (Bagdad café), The Scarlet Letter (with Demi Moore and Gary Oldman), Le mystère de la chambre jaune, Les bronzés 3: amis pour la vie, Cliente. For several years now, he has been acting in French productions. George Aguilar brings a unique perspective to the Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival board through his inside experience and knowledge of the film industries on both sides of the Atlantic. His frankness and honesty have assisted the Festival in the continuity and advancement of its quality. As a board member, Aguilar will be vigilant about artistic and showmanship considerations to ensure that the Festival is the best possible experience both for the delegation of Native American and non-Native actors/directors and for the spectators who come to the Festival. George is married to actress Josiane Balasko.

Sky Bear Aguilar

Sky Bear Aguilar was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently resides in Salem, Oregon. He is Apache, Yaqui, and Filipino and studied film at Art Institute of Seattle.

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Sky Bear has written and directed three short films (Waiting…, Monday Challenge: Cinematography, To Love You) and is one of the rising new directors representing the next wave of Native American filmmakers.

Brad Brown

Brad Brown had a 35-year career as a sales manager and sales executive in the consumer products industry, mostly on the West Coast.

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In 2007 he and his wife, Kathleen, moved from California to the Pamunkey Indian Reservation in Virginia. Brad is an enrolled member of the federally recognized Pamunkey Indian Tribe, serves on the Tribal Council, and is currently the Assistant Chief. Brad enjoys gardening, cooking, kayaking, and sitting by the river with a glass of wine. He has been designated by cinema professionals and leaders of the 11 Native American Tribes of Virginia to serve as director of the Pocahontas Reframed: Native American Storytellers Film Festival.

Andy Edmunds

Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office, is a Virginia native and an accomplished musician and songwriter.

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After studying music at VCU in the mid-80s, Edmunds produced a music video of one of his songs that was broadcast on MTV. This experience introduced him to the film production industry, where he ultimately settled in as a location scout until landing a job at the Virginia Film Office in 1997. “I found myself in a non-traditional area of economic development that seemed to be perfectly suited to my experience and interests. Every day I look forward to continuing to give back to the state I know and love through an enthusiastic approach to attracting clients and delivering creative solutions,” says Edmunds. During his time with the Film Office, Andy has worked with the most notable filmmakers of our time including, Terrence Malick, Ridley Scott, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, to name a few.

Margaret Finucane

Margaret Finucane is the Communications Manager of the Virginia Film Office, where she is responsible for communications,

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media and promotional initiatives. Originally from upstate NY, Margaret came to Virginia as an undergraduate at the University of Richmond. After receiving her degree from UR, she decided to remain in Richmond where she has had experience in public relations, writing, social media, project management, data analysis, and editing, with previous positions in research and writing.

Françoise & Peter Kirkpatrick

Françoise and Peter Kirkpatrick are, respectively, professor of contemporary French literature and film studies at…

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…the University of Richmond, and professor of French civilization and film studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 1992, they founded together the French Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia, which they continue to direct the Festival. Each edition of the Festival offers a selection of the most recent feature and short films representing the diversity of the French cinema. Films are presented by their directors or actors, and all have English subtitles. Since its creation, the Festival has welcomed more than 850 French directors, actors and producers in the Byrd Theatre, one of the last magnificent cinema palaces in the United States. Each year, during the four intensive days of the Festival weekend, the number of spectators rises to more than 21,000. Françoise and Peter are both Knights in the Order of Academic Excellence (Palmes Académiques) and Knights in the Order of Arts and Letters. On June 6, 2011, the Kirkpatricks were awarded the Médaille Beaumarchais by the French writers’ guild (SACD) for the creation and annual direction of the French Film Festival – Richmond, Virginia, which promotes and defends French cinematographic art in the United States.

Todd Schall-Vess

Todd Schall-Vess has spent his entire life working in entertainment. Before becoming the General Manager…

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…of the Byrd Theatre, Todd was a seasoned professional theatre exhibitor. He previously worked at Fulton Theatre in Pittsburg, Ashland Theatre, West Tower Cinemas, The Ridge, Westhampton, Willow Lawn, Spotsylvania Mall Theatres, United Artists Theatres, Chesterfield Towne Center, and Visual Aids Electronics. October 2017 marks Todd’s 20th year at the Byrd, where he has been instrumental in bringing about a number of important changes in operations and vision. He has overseen several updates, such as the implementation of xenon lamp houses, cyan soundtrack readers, a new Dolby Digital sound system, upgrades to full digital cinema technology and then to a 4K projector. Todd owns his own consulting company, Smoke & Mirrors LLC, through which he designs lighting, special effects, and AV specialties. Todd is one of only 5 ATF licensed pyrotechnicians in the Richmond area.


Film & Guest Programming Advisors

  • Robert Gray (Pamunkey)
  • Stephen Adkins (Chickahominy)
  • Walt Brown (Cheroenhaka Nottoway)
  • Lynette Allston (Nottoway)
  • John Lightner (Patawomek)
  • Mark Custalow (Mattaponi)
  • Reggie Tupponce (Upper Mattaponi)
  • Dr. Karenne Wood (Monacan, UVA)
  • Anne Richardson (Rappahannock)

Marketing & Development Committee

  • Dana Elmquist (Style Weekly)
  • Amy Ritchie (2019 Commemoration, American Evolution)
  • Yuri Milligan (2019 Commemoration, American Evolution)

Logistics & Finances Committee

  • Allyn Cook-Swarts (Pamunkey)
  • Sid Turner (Nottoway)

Academic Outreach Committee

  • Dr. Monica Siebert (UR)
  • Dr. Cristina Stanciu (VCU)
  • Dr. Gregory Smithers (VCU)
  • Dr. Karenne Wood (Monacan, UVA)

Sponsors & Funding

  • Amy Ritchie (2019 Commemoration, American Evolution)
  • Sam Proctor (Assiniboine)