|Intro||American film director|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
Sterlin Harjo (Seminole-Muscogee, born 1979) is a Native American filmmaker. He has directed three feature films and a feature documentary, all of them set in his home state of Oklahoma and concerned primarily with Native American people and content.
Harjo, a member of the Seminole nation who also has Muscogee heritage, was raised in Holdenville, Oklahoma. He attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied art and film.
In 2004, he received a fellowship from the Sundance Institute. His short film, Goodnight, Irene, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and received a special jury award at the Aspen Shortsfest. In 2006, he received a fellowship from the newly formed United States Artists foundation.
Harjo's first feature film, Four Sheets to the Wind, tells the story of a young Seminole man who travels from his small home town to Tulsa to visit his sister after the death of their father. The film premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the grand jury prize. Harjo was named best director at the 2007 American Indian Film Festival. The film's co-star Tamara Podemski won a Sundance special jury prize for her performance in the picture, and she was later nominated for best supporting actress at the 2007 Independent Spirit Awards.
Harjo's second feature, Barking Water, premiered at the 2009 Sundance festival. It portrays a road trip by a dying man and his former lover across Oklahoma to see his daughter and granddaughter in Wewoka, the capital of the Seminole Nation. Barking Water was named best drama film at the 2009 American Indian Film Festival.
Harjo's first feature documentary, This May Be the Last Time, is based on the story of Harjo's grandfather, who disappeared in 1962 in the Seminole County town of Sasakwa. It explores the subject of Creek Nation hymns and their connection to Scottish folk, gospel and rock music. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and its distribution rights were subsequently acquired by AMC/Sundance Channel Global for the Sundance Channel. His third feature film, Mekko, a thriller set in Tulsa, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2015.
Harjo has also directed a number of short-form projects. His 2009 short film Cepanvkuce Tutcenen (Three Little Boys) was part of the Embargo Collective project commissioned by the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. He has directed a series of shorts for This Land Press in Tulsa, where Harjo is the staff video director. He was a member of the 2010 Sundance shorts competition jury.
Harjo is a founding member of a five-member Native American comedy group, the 1491s. He is also one of the directors of the Cherokee Nation's monthly television news magazine, Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People.
In addition to awards for specific films as noted above, Harjo's career awards have included the 2011 Tilghman Award from the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and the Tulsa Library Trust's 2013 American Indian Writers Award.