Filmmaker Talk with Julianna Brannum

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Program Description:

As we celebrate Native American Heritage Month, PBS Books hosts a conversation with award-winning filmmaker Julianna Brannum. Brannum is a consulting producer for “THE AMERICAN BUFFALO: A Film by Ken Burns”, as well as director and producer of “HOMECOMING“. Julianna takes us through the creation of these two films and the importance of the Intertribal Buffalo Council and the Bison Conservation and Transfer Program, which is supporting buffalo restoration to Indigenous people.

For thousands of years, Native Americans lives have been spiritually and physically linked to the bison. Julianna shares about this interconnectedness, as well as stories from her family and the Quahada band of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. Throughout the conversation, she discusses how experiences shaped her perspective of the past and the future for Indigenous people here in the United States.

About the Films:

The American Buffalo poster image

THE AMERICAN BUFFALO, a new two-part, four-hour series, takes viewers on a journey through more than 10,000 years of North American history and across some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes, tracing the animal’s evolution, its significance to the Indigenous people and landscape of the Great Plains, its near extinction, and the efforts to bring the magnificent mammals back from the brink. THE AMERICAN BUFFALO series premiered in mid-October and is available on Demand at and on the PBS Passport app.

Homecoming takes viewers into the 21st century and examines how the InterTribal Buffalo Council’s Bison Conservation and Transfer Program is supporting buffalo restoration to the Indigenous people whose lives, spiritually and physically, were inextricably linked to the bison for thousands of years.

Each winter, approximately 200 bison are transferred to tribal nations around the country. The film follows Jason Baldes, an Eastern Shoshone and a member of the InterTribal Buffalo Council, who was also an advisor to the Burns Film, as he leads historic transfers of bison from the city of Denver, Colorado to his own Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, and from a Nature Conservancy Preserve in Illinois to the Menominee in Wisconsin, communities which will maintain their bison herds to supply a healthy food source and cultural touchstone to their tribal citizens for eternity. The film discusses what living among the bison once again means for Native people––today and for future generations.

Guest Biography:

Julianna Brannum, Filmmaker 

Julianna Brannum is a documentary filmmaker based in Oklahoma. She served as Consulting Producer on The American Buffalo, directed by Ken Burns, and as Director and Producer of the short film Homecoming, a companion to Burns’s two part series, both coming to PBS in Fall 2023.

She was Director/Producer of the PBS documentary LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 for which she won fellowships from the Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute. She was Producer of the Independent Lens documentary, Conscience Point, Series Producer on the 2018 Emmy-nominated PBS series, Native America, and Producer of Through the Repellent Fence, which screened at MoMA and SxSW. She also served as Co-producer for Stanley Nelson’s We Shall Remain: Wounded Knee. Brannum made her directorial debut with The Creek Runs Red which aired on Independent Lens in 2007 and is a citizen of the Quahada band of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

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