Hollywood, Montana, Writer discussed on Morning Edition
You're listening to KCRW. This is morning edition. David E. Kelly has the kind of career in the entertainment business that could be the topic of well Hollywood movie or TV show. He started as a writer and story editor working on L. A law. He then moved on to create a long list of hit shows, including Picket Fences. Chicago Hope Allie McBeal in Boston Public His latest Syriza's a crime drama called Big Sky Set in Montana. Here's a clip. Yeah. You sure you're in the right place? It's that truck. Lock the doors. What are fine? But the show is running into a lot of pushback from indigenous groups. Katie Kilkenny has been covering the story for the Hollywood Reporter, Big Sky and you show on ABC sort of centers on an investigation into a serious of disappearances. Of women on a Montana highway. The reason why native and indigenous groups have sort of been up in arms about this Syriza's is that the disproportionate number of people who go missing in Montana are Native Americans. Indigenous people account for about 6.5% of the population, but 26% of people who go missing each year, according to the latest Montana Department of Justice, Justice, Sex So it is a major problem. But there doesn't seem to be acknowledgement of that problem or representation of it in the Syriza so far, and so around. 225 tribes and First nations now have joined a protest asking for Acknowledgment of some kind. They've mostly been asking for an educational placard at the end of episodes that have already taped to point to yours to the issue and where they can learn more about it. Big sky isn't the only recent serious facing this kind of criticism what other shows air being called out? HBO's Lovecraft country had an episode a few months back that featured an arrow walking to spirit character who was introduced and then in the same episode was sort of violently killed. Andre that prompted some controversy from viewers who are hoping for a sort of better depiction of that character. Eventually, the Showrunner actually apologized for that depiction, she said it had failed. And then there was AH comic book that came out a few months ago that also prompted some controversy. It was about time for a woman in very, very early Los Angeles and her daughter, and there was depiction of Violence against native women, and there was no native creators behind it. There was a consultant and so that also prompted people toe call for that comic to be retracted. Kind of changes what they like to see. Rather than be hired his cultural consultants, which is somebody who doesn't really have much creative impact, they're not really there in the room at the beginning, working on the creative storytelling, and so they're looking for. Reductions to hire them in above the line positions so positions where they do have creative leadership role As a writer, producer director. They're also looking for more contemporary stories to be told involving native characters. Often people will come to them with a new idea for a period piece. But you know, advocates that I spoke to were saying We very much have amazing contemporary stories to tell and so often, Americans on Lee think of the native Americans and indigenous peoples in the past, and we really want to change that. And finally, there is still a recurring problem of non native people being cast in native rolls. These are issues that we've seen other groups advocating for years with Hollywood, You know when it comes to more accurate depictions, more representation. Both in front of him behind the camera. Latino black Asian LGBT Q artists. Um, is this something new for indigenous groups? Do they feel like they're making headway? I think it's something they've been advocating for for a long time. When I spoke to one source, he said that you know he's got in an uptick and outreach since Standing Rock and you know, Hollywood producers have been really interested in working more with indigenous creators and native creators since then. But it's still something that lags behind for the community. Do they feel like they have the same kind of clout in Hollywood as far as dealing with executives that say other groups do Some of the creatives that I spoke with talked about that as an ongoing problem that they're not getting as many resource is, as other groups do, or that they're often left out of even diversity studies. And they were really asking for the same about a resource is being given to them as to other communities and really not to be left behind. It looks like the message maybe starting to get through. I mean, for starters, indigenous groups are hopeful about some shows in the pipeline. Absolutely. There are several landmark shows that are coming out imminently to our better, very important include a peacock show that features television's first native female show runner. It's called Rutherford Falls, and that show runner is the Navajo in Mexican American filmmaker Sierra Ornelas has a writer's room that's half Native American, which is really remarkable. And there's also a Netflix animated series coming out called Spirit Rangers, and that also has a Chumash travel citizen. It's a sure winner and a writer's room that's entirely native American. And then there are two shows in Development one at FX. That's a pilot called reservation Dogs and another at NBC called Sovereign. That's also in development, which also features significant amounts of above the line native and indigenous talent. And so these seem to be really hopeful signs of a new era to come. Katie Kilkenny is a staff reporter with the Hollywood reporter. 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