Trailer Of Velma Kee Craig's Work & Clip Of Interview With Einstein
Velma Kee Craig
Velma Kee Craig (Navajo) is the co-founder of White Springs Creative, LLC (formerly BetterOnes Productions), which she runs with her husband and fellow director Dustinn Craig. Velma is a graduate of Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature and a minor in American Indian studies. In 2008, she participated in Native Women in Documentary Film, a community discussion featuring filmmakers at various stages in their professional work, organized by the NMAI Film and Video Center staff in Washington, DC.
In 2003 Craig co-wrote I Belong to This, which aired nationally on PBS as part of the Matters of Race series. It looks at the idea that mere survival is no longer satisfactory for Native people. The realities of living in an environment plagued with drugs, alcoholism, racism and violence give a young couple the inspiration to change the course of their and their children's lives. With confidence and the support of extended family on the reservation, the couple begin the life work of instilling a sense of self and strength of character in their children.
In 2005 Craig was co-editor of Home, a project completed for the Heard Museum, a Native American museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The documentary features members from a variety of tribes in Arizona and New Mexico, including White Mountain Apache, Tohono O'odham, Acoma Pueblo, and Pasqua-Yaqui, who talk about what their land and the concept of home means to them. The film achieved its goal of allowing Native peoples to be the authorities on themselves.
In 2006 Craig produced and directed Female Rain/Nilts'a Bi'aad, which is based on a poem by the same name by Navajo poet Laura Tohe. This short film is Craig's attempt to express her love for poetry, the beauty of language (both English and Navajo), the power of visual imagery, and her reverence for the oral tradition. The film has screened at film festivals in Canada and in New York City.
In Craig's animated short 'in this manner, I am' (2010), which was adapted from a poem by the same name, a young Navajo woman and a non-native meet on a street corner and have a conversation about the phrase, "Doo Dine nishliida," (I am not a Dine). Translated literally, Dine, like most other indigenous self-identification terms, can mean person or human. The film was awarded Best of Class in the Animated Shorts Division at the 2011 SWAIA film festival in Santa Fe, NM, and has been requested for inclusion in the AZ100 Indie Film Collection, a project of the University of Arizona Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry in collaboration with the Arizona Media Arts Center. The film screened at festivals in Canada and New York City in 2010 and 2011.
Velma's most recent film, which she also wrote and directed in 2010, is titled Interview with Einstein. In this short comedy when the Craig family discovers their pet can talk, the children decide to document their interview with him and find out that their dog is more interesting than they thought. Interview with Einstein screened as part of SWAIA and NMAI's Native Cinema Showcase at the 2012 Indian Market in Santa Fe, NM.
An accomplished poet, Velma wrote Spiderwoman Wears Wranglers for Red Ink Magazine: The Gender Issue, and compiled two anthologies of poetry, prose, and visual art by local artists, Hum Drum & Fall and Shaman (Shame On) Me. She performs monthly readings in Mesa, Arizona where she lives with her husband and family.
For her delightful and insightful comedy, Interview With Einstein, Velma Kee Craig is receiving TheWIFTS Foundation 2012 Short Film Award.