Article and photo by Jeannie Briones
TULALIP, Washington- Tribal member Derek C. Jones is a filmmaker, musician, and programmer with over twenty short films to his credit at the young age of twenty-four. He continues to pursue his vision and passion to help people understand each other by breaking down barriers and stereotypes through his film work.
On October 25th, Derek showcased five short films at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center Film Series. “Raising Our Arms in Thanksgiving,” “Puppet Reporters,” “Who Am I,” and “Happiness” are early works that were co-directed with his younger brother, Aaron. Derek also presented a short storytelling film about Coast Salish history and art. This video is shown to third and fourth graders at theMuseum ofHistory and Industry.
“I really want to provide positive images of indigenous Native Americans and the beauty of our culture,” said Derek. “A large part of my artistic inspiration is drawing out small details and interactions that people have with each other and with nature and placing those interactions into a larger context,” said Derek.
A large part of his film storytelling is a reflection of his life. Derek is in the creative stages of writing and creating new material. He plans to travel and experience life and expand his knowledge to help build his craft in filmmaking.
“A lot of projects I’m working on are related to race, gender, and sexuality,” said Derek. “One topic that resonates strongly is gender, because when you look at a lot of the media today, it’s skewed towards the male perspective. We have Hollywood films with only one out of three speaking roles for women.”
“Something I have been thinking about a lot is the power that comes with presenting someone’s story. As far as media goes, we are to be mindful of how we share stories and present stories because those do have affects on how we view and treat people. I think when you look at race, genders, and sexualities there are a history of denigrating or stereotyping. I am really keen in providing positive images of people,” said Derek.
At the 2007 Tulalip Film Festival Awards, “Raising Our Arms in Thanksgiving” won Best Original Score and has been shown at several film festivals, including the Seattle International Film Festival and Cowichan International Aboriginal Film Festival. His work has also been shown at the Smithsonian National Museumof the American Indian’s Film andVideo Center.
Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; email@example.com