Cherokee Nation launches first-ever US tribal film incentive program

The Cherokee Nation Film Office launched in 2019 as the first certified Native American film commission in the US.

By Melissa Kasule 28 Jan 2022

Cherokee Nation launches first-ever US tribal film incentive program

The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is set to become the first tribal film office to offer a film incentive programme to attract international projects to shoot on their native land.

The incentive will provide up to $1m in annual funding for productions filmed within the Oklahoma area's 14-county reservation, according to the Cherokee Nation Film Office (CNFO).

CNFO will begin accepting applications for the tribe's film incentive on 1 March. It will also offer a cash rebate for qualified production expenses. Prequalified productions filming anywhere within Cherokee Nation’s 7,000 square miles of northeast Oklahoma are eligible for the rebate incentive. In addition, the incentive offers increased funding for employing Native American citizens, as well as utilizing Native-owned businesses.

The tribe aims that the new incentive program will attract film and television projects to the Cherokee Nation, creating economic development and job opportunities. 

The Cherokee Nation Film Office was launched in 2019 and became the first certified Native American film commission to open in the US. The incentive will be available individually or in conjunction with the state of Oklahoma’s incentive program, but each will require a separate application process. 

“In pursuit of our longtime mission of growing the tribe’s economy, CNB continues to invest in the success of Cherokee citizens through new and diverse opportunities across the globe,” said Chuck Garrett, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “The Cherokee Nation Film Incentive is an excellent means of expanding upon those goals by helping grow an entire industry specifically within the Cherokee Nation.”

Jennifer Loren, director of Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content, added: “Oklahoma’s television, film and production industries continue to grow at an exceptional pace. We are pleased to serve a role in helping support economic growth while furthering our mission to promote diversity, inclusion and accurate Native American representation at every level of these industries.

"Encouraging productions to film within Cherokee Nation’s many vast and beautiful locations, as well as to hire Indigenous people and utilize Native-owned businesses, offers an immense amount of opportunity for tribal citizens, families and businesses to benefit from the rapid growth of these industries within our state.”

CNFO has also created all-inclusive talent, crew and consulting online directories featuring Native American actors, extras, voice actors, crew, cultural experts and other industry resources.

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