Q&A with Sunrise Tippeconnie

14 Jul

Our other new FVS Faculty for the 2010 and 2011 year is Sunrise Tippeconnie.  He has taught Filmmaking for the OU College of Fine Arts and at Temple University where he earned his masters degree in Film and Media Arts.  Mr. Tippeconnie will be teaching FVS 3313.900 Single Camera Production, 3810.002 Advanced Production Techniques and 3843.001 American Independent Cinema of the 80s and 90s.

1.      Where have you taught prior to teaching for FVS?

I have recently taught Filmmaking I and II in 2008 for the Fine Arts College at OU.  I have also instructed classes at Temple University for film production, screenwriting, and international cinema. Other than university environments, I have guest lectured for other classes, clubs, festivals or organizations on American Indian cinema and production lighting techniques.

2.      Where did you go to school, and what did you receive your degrees in?

I went to OU for my undergrad degree, in which I received a bachelor’s in Fine Arts, and then went to Temple University for my master’s in Film and Media Arts.

3.      Why did you choose to study and teach film?

Film has been a vocation for me, and my primary goals are to create my own film work as a contribution to American Indian cinema and help define a more specific Comanche film aesthetic. In the process of making my own works, I’ve come to learn much about various aspects of not just “film,” but literature, history, theory, politics, and art – all of which inform what I’m able to apply or accomplish as a filmmaker and technician in the industry. As a result of these experiences, fueled by my hunger to understand more about all aspects of film, I feel it’s important to teach and discuss what I’ve learned with others whom share the same hunger and love for this medium.

4.      What other interests, both academic and recreational, do you have?

I have a great interest in American history, classic literature, astronomy and paranormal studies, all of which satisfy my curiosity of how people think, resolve and express their opinions about life’s great mysteries.

5.      Tell us a little about your research and what projects and productions you have worked on in the past and are currently working on.

In terms of research, I am very interested in how American Indian’s approach their mediation, specifically in contrast with other world cultures that are able to discuss and define their mediated image. American Indians have been in a constant battle to overcome a simplistic depiction in genre Westerns, Horror and Racial Dramas, but when contemporary American Indian filmmakers draft new images of themselves they do so mainly through character and story. I feel this redrafting of image can be further supported through an American Indian aesthetic.

While I write, produce and direct shorts of my own, I also work as a technician on other films.  A specific interest of mine is to work on various American Indian filmmakers’ productions, such as Sterlin Harjo’s film’s Four Sheets to the Wind, Barking Water, and Three Little Boys,  Blackhorse Lowe’s Shimasani, Tvli Jacob and Steve Judd’s American Indian Graffitti, and the yet to be released Heather Rae produced film Magic Valley. I have also worked as a technician on other films like Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me, Yen Tan’s Ciao, and the recently Oklahoman Brooks Douglas-produced film Heaven’s Rain.

6.      What is your favorite course to teach?

My favorite courses are usually production courses. I am always excited to see how students manage to utilize the medium through their own work, although the discussion of the work through class critique is also very stimulating and educational.

7.      What do you look forward to most in regard to teaching for FVS?

I am most interested in hearing and seeing what students have to say about the films that we study, or how they’re learning and using the medium to be more articulate about their thoughts.

8.  What are your favorite movies?

This is the hardest question, as I love too much and “favorite movies” have a tendency to change. Here are a too many of my favorites at the moment:

Zodiac (2007) David Fincher

The Journals of Knudd Rasmussen (2006) Zacharias Kunuk

Ocean’s Twelve (2004) Steven Soderbergh

Tropical Malady (2004) Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Presumed Innocent (1990) Alan J. Pakula

Metropolitan (1990) Whit Stillman

Rome, Armed to the Teeth (1976) Umberto Lenzi

The Mirror (1975) Andrei Tarkovsky

The Best Man (1964) Franklin J. Schaffner

Two Weeks In Another Town (1962) Vincent Minnelli

Goodbye Again (1961) Anatole Litvak

The Big Country (1958) William Wyler

Voyage to Italy (1954) Roberto Rossellini

Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder

Rage in Heaven (1941) W.S. Van Dyke

Five Came Back (1939) John Farrow


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