Changing the perception of Native Americans through film and cinema

Chad Burris is an attorney, entrepreneur, film producer and proud member of the Chickasaw Nation. He grew up in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Upon graduation, Burris set out for Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry.

While in L.A., Burris befriended a lawyer who had seen success in the film industry because of his experience in law. This inspired Burris to return to Oklahoma after only a few years in California, to study Indian Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law. He went on to start Indion Entertainment group, a financing business that produces Oklahoma film projects — utilizing tax incentives to encourage local investment.

“I think Chickasaw culture goes in two parts — the basic Chickasaw and the pan-Indian culture, which I believe bleeds over into everything, especially in the realm of film,” Burris said. “A lot of why I started helping films out or making my own was to just try and quell certain stereotypes I witnessed firsthand as a kid and didn’t agree with. I set out to change the way that the general public perceives being Indian through the films that we’ve made, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”

Accomplishments

  • Received the Sundance Institute’s Mark Silverman Fellowship for New Producers in 2007
  • Produced Harjo’s film, “Four Sheets to the Wind”
  • Produced the film “Yellow” with Ben Affleck
  • Produced Famke Janssen’s film, “Bringing Up Bobby,” starring Milla Jovovich
  • Produced the film “The Killer Inside Me” with Casey Affleck
  • All films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival