Special Effects Artist Offers Training to Cherokee Nation Film Students

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Tue, 03/15/2022 - 13:33 -- Nick Dager

As film and television productions continue to expand into Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation is helping prepare Native Americans to join the rapidly growing industry. The tribe’s film office recently partnered with Tulsa artist Tate Steinsiek to introduce students to the special effects field. The Cherokee Nation Film Office supplied full scholarships for Native American students interested in attending Steinsiek’s Introduction to FX Gore and Blood Gags for Film course.

Native American artist and Tulsa business owner Tate Steinsiek teaches a special effects technique to student Kylie Dirtseller during the Introduction to FX Gore and Blood Gags for Film course, which was sponsored by the Cherokee Nation Film Office.“This is an excellent example of Natives helping bring more Natives into film and television and further demonstrates the boundless opportunities available within the industry,” said Jennifer Loren, director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office and Original Content. “Tate’s knowledge and connection to the film industry are invaluable assets. His workshop gives exposure to a trade that isn’t always highlighted in traditional film school settings and provides students with one-on-one time with an experienced professional.”

The one-day workshop features the materials, tools and process used for creating special effects and includes the creation, application, and use of prosthetics. The course concludes with students videoing their work and adding it to their FX reels.    

"Bringing these career film workshops to the Indigenous artists of Oklahoma is a very important initiative. Our artists need to know that there is no need to leave this state to pursue their creative dreams. We are here, and we will build our local film community internally,” said Steinsiek. “CNFO sponsoring students to attend my makeup prosthetics workshop not only helps Indigenous artists build their professional knowledge and personal skill set, but without fail forges new networks among the students and even myself. I'll see some of them again in my studio; I can guarantee it."

Steinsiek is a Native American director who is known for his award-winning talent in creating gore and horror elements as a special effects, prosthetics, and conceptual artist. Since creating his makeup special effects company, Ill Willed Productions, he has worked around the world, including leading workshops in Mexico and Ireland. Steinsiek previously worked on Saturday Night Live, Law & Order, and with the History and Discovery Channels and has competed twice on Syfy’s competition series Face Off.

Launched in 2019, the mission of the Cherokee Nation Film Office is to increase the presence of Native Americans in every level of the film and television industries, while also creating opportunities for economic development and jobs in the Cherokee Nation. The tribal film office funds scholarships, training, and various educational opportunities for citizens of any federally recognized tribe.