Taking in the Big Picture

Thursday, November 1 2012


MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho American Indian Studies Program presents the 12th Annual Distinguished American Indian Speakers Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 in the Haddock Performance Hall at the Lionel Hampton School of Music.

The evening will feature Kiowa/Choctaw artist and filmmaker Steven Paul Judd, who will speak on “Putting and Keeping Indians in the Picture.” A reception and art sale will follow.

“We’ve screened three of Steven’s films at our Native American film festival, but right now he’s making a big impact with his paintings and drawings. He’s very into popular culture and making sure American Indians are a part of it,” said Jan Johnson, coordinator of the university’s American Indian Studies Program.

Judd is a prolific visual artist whose mashups of Native experiences and disposable American pop culture are sly and often downright funny. His creations include paintings, prints, poster art, photographs and T-shirt designs.

A graduate of Haskell Nations University and the University of Oklahoma, he is a member of the Writers Guild of America.

Primarily known as a filmmaker, Judd is a dynamic and inspiring speaker. Fans may recognize his film “Neil Discovers the Moon,” which was screened daily in April 2012 as part of the Animation Celebration at the National Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian Institute. In August, the piece won in the Best Animation category at the Native American Cinema Showcase at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

And he’s no stranger to cultural insensitivities.

He joined the chorus of American Indians who led a recent, successful campaign that led the Gap store to pull T-shirts inscribed with the words “Manifest Destiny” from its shelves. Judd believes the catch phrase is associated with the genocide of millions of Natives at the turn of the last century.

“Steven is endlessly creative, committed to the well-being of tribal communities, and to making American Indian people visible. He proves that imagination and enthusiasm are the most important qualities for making art and for making a difference,” said Johnson.

With his screen writing partner Tvli Jacob, he penned and/or directed “American Indian Graffiti: This Thing Life” (2003), “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco” (2010) and “Shouting Secrets” (2011).

His other accomplishments include:

• Winning Best Feature film at the 2012 American Indian Film Institute Festival in San Francisco for “Shouting Secrets”

• Winning the 2011 Best Music Video at the American Indian Film Institute competition for "The Storm" 

• Receiving the 2009 Creative Spirit Award for his winning screenplay “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco,” which he later directed

• His 2011 wins for the film above, which took Outstanding Short at the North American Indigenous Image Awards, Best Narrative prize at The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (Indian Market), Best Short Film AIFI

• Being select as one of the 14 out of 2,500 submissions for scripts resulting in the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship Program

• Receiving the 2009 Distinguished Alumni award for the University of Oklahoma and asked to speak at the university as part of the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series.
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