A Short Film 125 Years in the Making

A triumph for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

RedNationFilmFestAwardSome student film projects have more scope than others. At the very top of that heap in 2015 is Iroquois Creation Story, a 17-minute short made by students and alumni at Rochester’s Institute of Technology that combines live action and animation.

The narrative starting point for the project are the words of Seneca Chief John Arthur Gibson (1850-1912). In the 1890s, he related the Iroquois creation story to J.N.B. Hewitt, a version which was later annotated into a book by John Mohawk. More than a century later, the film made by RIT students is playing at the newly opened Seneca Arts and Culture Center and will be available soon for purchase on DVD. From a recent RIT announcement:

The ancient Iroquois Creation Story, passed down through generations of oral tradition, has never before been visualized on film. It was made possible by the generous support of The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.

“We send our sincere congratulations to Friends of Ganondagan and its partners for this wonderful award,” said Holli Budd, executive director of the Farash Foundation. “This film is a great example of the kind of artistic and cultural collaboration that leads to the best original art.”

Other key folks who helped power the project include Cathleen Ashworth, associate professor at RIT’s School of Film and Animation (SOFA), and Seneca tribal member Peter Jemison, who recently became RIT’s first Special Adviser to the President on Native American Issues and Partnerships with Tribal Organizations. That’s Jermison, above, accepting as producer an award at last month’s Red Nation Film Festival in Los Angeles.