In Focus

Chinonye Chukwu on Directing TILL

Director Chinonye Chukwu on ‘Till’ and the story of Emmett Till’s mother

October 23, 20225:06 PM ET

Heard on All Things Considered

9-Minute Listen

NPR’s Cheryl Thompson speaks with director Chinonye Chukwu about her new film Till.

Official Trailer for “TILL” the film by Chinonye Chukwu, a former film student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Stories for Climate Justice: A Film Exhibition

We are so grateful to the Anchorage Museum for exhibiting ten films produced by the fall 2021 class, “Alaska Native Filmmaking: Stories for Climate Justice” co-sponsored between the UAF Department of Theatre & Film and Native Movement, with sponsorship from Visionmakers Media and Nia Tero.

The exhibition is open at the museum Circumpolar Cinema from September 30, 2022-March 2023. In conjunction with the opening, we held a panel discussion, archived on Facebook:


Join participants of the Alaska Native Filmmakers Intensive alongside their mentors as they reflect the production of films featured in Stories for Climate Justice, which opened September 30 in the Northern Narratives Gallery on the second floor. The evening will include a back-to-back screening and panel of the exhibition’s ten films examining how Indigenous Alaskans are responding to the impacts of climate change on their homelands and communities.

Moderator: Maka Monture

Panelists: Alaska Native Filmmakers Intensive participants Shak’shaani Éesh / Konrad Frank, Rodney Evans, and Brittany Woods-Orrison, with mentors Ruth Miller (Climate Justice Lead Instructor) and Maya Salganek (Lead Filmmaking Instructor)

ImagineNATIVE Film Festival Opening Night?!

Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa honored to Open ImagineNATIVE Film Festival, 2022.

What an honor to have this film, Diiyeghann naii Taii Tre’eedaa, selected as one of the “Brightest Stars” of the festival! ImagineNATIVE is the most inspiring film festival I’ve ever attended, and I’m speechless to have contributed to this wonderful film directed by Princess Daazhraii Johnson. Mahsi’choo!

Vashraii K’oo: Arctic Village, AK

I am fortunate to have worked in the Gwich’in community of Vashraii K’oo or Arctic Village during the summer of 2022 on a research project funded by NSF. I worked with University of Alaska Fairbanks students and researchers, along with colleagues from Haverford College and the University of Arizona to talk with Elders about climate change in their community. I directed the students on video documentation methods, and video fieldwork while directing the documentary film project.

Decolonizing Fieldwork: Using Videography as a Method to Empower Alaska Native Youth and Promote Inter-Generational Dialogues on Climate Change in the Arctic

WIPCE Abstract

This presentation will be led by an Indigenous research team that utilizes videography as a research method to document Indigenous knowledge on climate change impacts in two regions of rural Alaska. Participating undergraduate students will feature a short video and share their journey to decolonizing fieldwork in partnership with two federally recognized tribes. Discussion topics will include: the importance of relationality in research, the value of engaging Indigenous youth and elders in inter-generational dialogues around climate change and sustainability, and the opportunity to learn and use digital technology as a tool to perpetuate the transmission of Indigenous knowledge by and for tribal communities. Student panelists will share their perspectives as Indigenous students learning to interact and engage with local communities in tribally-led research efforts. By intentionally putting Alaska Native values into practice and elevating relationality into the research framework at every opportunity, the students actively sought to decolonize the fieldwork experience. One innovative aspect of this work is its focus on challenging Western research norms regarding the collection, management and ownership of data. Students will share how research agreements and practices were designed specifically to support tribal goals and self-determination. This project is an inspiring example of empowering young, tribal citizens to learn videography and put their vision and new skills to use in service of tribal communities.

To Continue or Be Remembered…Perpetuating and Sharing Alaska Native Arts

“To Continue or Be Remembered” is a film showcasing the work of perpetuating Alaska Native Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Proudly presented by the University of Alaska Fairbanks FRAME Film Production Services in collaboration with KUAC-TV and the UAF Native Arts Center. Guided by Alaskan Native Artists Kathleen Carlo Kendall, Peter Williams, Joel Isaak, Marjorie Tahbone, and Da-ka-xeen Mehner, we discover the ongoing efforts underway to continue and expand Alaskan Native Arts such as fish skin and fur sewing, qupak design, and carving. Produced through the support of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. Directed by Maya Salganek. Edited by Keara Anderson and Keziah Anderson.

Molly of Denali – New Mexico Focus

New Mexico In Focus, a Production of NMPBS
Published on Jul 19, 2019
July 19, 2019 – Correspondent Antonia Gonzales talks with producer Maya Salganek about a new PBS KIDS series about a 10-year-old Alaska Native girl, called “Molly of Denali.” The show weaves together literacy skills and Native values. It’s the first nationally distributed children’s television series to feature a Native American lead character. Salganek was born and raised in Santa Fe.

Episode 1303

MayaSalganek with Antonia Gonzalez 071519Small

Samples of Student Work

Students in FLPA 231 :Previsualization and Preproduction for Digital Cinema are pushed to get ready to shoot their first film. They worked in production teams and each student:

  1. Wrote and Polished a short screenplay
  2. Storyboarded and Photoboarded a screenplay from another student
  3. Scheduled and Budgeted a screenplay from another student using Movie Magic software
  4. Created Animatics of their concepts using storyboards/photoboards/ or 3D Animation software.
  5. Worked with actors to create an audio track for their animatics
  6. Created websites for their work
  7. Pitched their scripts and films to a jury of peers.

Here are some links to a few of their sites:

Joe Yates and Daniel Walker: FBX Films

Janis Carney:

Emily Moretz: 

FRAME Highlight: Student Support Services

One amazing evolution of  UAF FRAME-Film Production Services is being able to connect with other programs of the University of Alaska Fairbanks system, and learn more what they do. Here’s an example of a FRAME project I mentored this spring with a film major at the helm.

The Emerging Scholars Academy prepares incoming, first-time-freshman for college, and provides 8 academic credits saving the average student over $1000 in classes.

Music Video for OCnotes

Sometimes, you just need to do something different. Had a blast making this impromptu video with the talented Silver Jackson and OCnotes in Juneau, Alaska. My boy even got his first cameo!

Shot by Maya Salganek, Zak D. Wass, TJ Cramer, Nicholas Galanin, & OCnotes

Directed by Silver Jackson & OCnotes

Leona – transformations

Leona is three different characters within Bodies of Water.

Leona is a child – confrontational, rebellious, but still a child.

After the death of Willow – Leon cuts her ties with her family -she is tired of being judged. She chooses to enter the world (reborn) on her own terms, but quickly gets drawn into another family – the troupe.

Finally- Leona births herself. The Water Cell as Womb into this persona – still stuck. Still reliving the tragedy, but finding freedom and even grace within it. As close to the edge of life as she can be.  The edges of life – before birth-into death. In the water.

Illustration by Jody Hewgill




The Alaska Lens – A Vision Statement

Why see Alaska for what it is?

Because if we don’t show it, then someone else will get it wrong.

This vision statement underlies the focus of my efforts in founding the

Film Program and FRAME at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Alaskan Lens captures the people, stories, places, and unique viewpoint of Alaskans by Alaskans. Alaskan film is infused with the voices of history and cultural knowledge, and embedded in the geographic wonder of the North. Alaska film students are asked to create content that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of our isolation and interdependence. They are encouraged to make films that are self-reflective of the Alaskan diversity of language, cultural complexities, and strong traditions of Northern peoples. The Alaskan Lens will seek partnerships with established filmmakers of the North and South and serve to bridge the needs of today’s students with the future of digital storytelling.

Students will be prepared in both conceptual and artistic expression as well as technical and professional expertise. They will be strongly prepared to continue their education in graduate programs, work in a career path, or venture into the field on a path of their own making. Our graduates will have both clarity and capacity to focus their vision on the world.

-November 17, 2011

AshleighStrange_Cinematography2011 (Maya Salganek's conflicted copy 2015-09-09)
Ashleigh Strange in Cinematography class – 2011

Junko’s Birch Totem

Directed by Graduate student, Jill S. Shipman, this film explores the relationship between international artist, Junko Yanagida, and Alaska Native artistic practices.

Junko was a MFA recipient in Native Art from the Native Art Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2016.

Produced as a student project in FLM 271, Fall 2015.