August 21, 2007

Kudos for Raven Tales

Animation artist inspired by American Indian heritageThe Kansas-born animator, producer, director, actor and writer moved to New Mexico as a baby.

"Growing up among the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi people of New Mexico gave me a great respect for North American aboriginal art and culture" and his own Cherokee heritage, he said.

"Raven Tales," an animated TV series inspired by legends of indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, has aired in Canada, New Zealand, France, Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom and garnered rave reviews and numerous awards, including Best Animated Film at the 2005 Reel to Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver, Canada, Best Animated Short Subject at the 2004 American Indian Film Festival, and Best Native Film at the 2004 Santa Fe Film Festival. In 2006, he was invited to the United Nations to screen "Raven Tales" at a special day of film as part of the U.N.'s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

"I think computer animation is the perfect medium to tell First Nations stories," Kientz said. "There is a certain visual freedom and sense of reality that is unique to the medium and complements the playfulness of the "Raven Tales.' The only limit to computer animation is your imagination. Nothing else comes close. I also like computer animation as a medium for First Nations stories because it shatters expectations. It tells people outside the First Nations community that there is no restriction on which medium First Nations people can adopt to tell their stories."

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