"We're pretty much a global program," said Runningwater, who worked for the Ford Foundation before joining Sundance.
The Sundance Native Initiative can help filmmakers, from writing to music composition to directing. A connection with Sundance, either through its ongoing programs or the annual film festival, can open doors.
"It's really helpful for building industry relationships because of the respect that Sundance has," said Heather Rae, a Cherokee filmmaker who once headed the Native Initiative for Sundance. "Sundance is very webbed into the independent film community at large. By affiliation, there are some really valuable opportunities."