Navajo Nation and the Arizona Commerce Authority Sign MOU to Expand Film and Media Industry in Arizona
The partnership will focus on developing marketing strategies and providing workforce opportunities
WINDOW ROCK, AZ, NAVAJO NATION (August 30, 2021) — Navajo Nation and the Arizona Commerce Authority announced today a new partnership to promote Navajo Nation as a major international film and media destination. The partnership, which was outlined in a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), aims to build a foundation of generational opportunities in the film and media industry.
The MOU signed July 23, 2021, by Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, and Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez emphasizes both entities' shared vision to more fully capitalize on Arizona’s unique film and media attractiveness.
"We look forward to developing a new and structured film and media opportunity for our Navajo Nation, including our fellow Arizonians,” said Edsel Pete, Program Manager, Navajo Nation TV & Film. “It is a great endeavor to develop a thriving film and media industry that will provide economic, workforce, and training opportunities. Collectively, we have taken tremendous strides in this development, as we have all respectively taken on roles as the designers, engineers, architects, and facilitators in making this a success. The precise building of this yellow brick road will be of great benefit for generations to come."
Efforts outlined in the MOU include developing marketing strategies and activities, public relations campaigns, implementing training and employment opportunities in film and digital media production, creating a shared talent and production database, and promoting respective infrastructure and resources.
“We’re thrilled to work with the Navajo Nation to elevate the film and media industry in Arizona,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “This MOU is the foundation of a long-term partnership that will advance Arizona’s international attractiveness for film and media production. We are grateful to President Nez and the Navajo Nation for their partnership, for graciously allowing filmmakers to create on Navajo land, and for their commitment to increase workforce opportunities in the Navajo Nation and statewide.”
The MOU serves as a guide for the parties as film and media partners in a collaborative effort to renew economic, workforce, and training opportunities on the Navajo Nation and in the State of Arizona. In addition, the MOU provides an opportunity for both parties to define avenues to overcome the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Navajo Nation is home to countless stunning landscapes rarely seen in television and film — until now,” said Matthew Earl Jones, Director of Film & Digital Media, Arizona Commerce Authority. “We are excited to partner with Navajo Nation TV & Film to present these diverse locations to filmmakers in Arizona and nationally that highlight the unique culture of the Navajo Nation.”
Since 1913, more than 5,000 films and TV shows have been filmed in Arizona. This MOU signing between the Navajo Nation and the Arizona Commerce Authority cements both parties’ commitment to advance the growing film industry in the state. Arizona’s film landscape has been developed through comprehensive university and community college film programs, statewide film festivals and an increase in full-service production companies.
Raquel Bahe, Navajo Nation TV & Film, RaquelBahe@navajo-nsn.gov
Ayssa Tufts, Arizona Commerce Authority, AlyssaT@AZCommerce.com
About Navajo Nation TV & Film
Comprised of three sections – film, television, and production, Navajo Nation TV & Film (NNTVF) believes that media plays a crucial role in creating an environment of active citizenship that encourages social responsibility and public spirit. Media then, in both access and content, is critical to the health and livelihood of Navajo Nation citizens, communities, businesses, and more.
Since the launch of the program in June 2018, including a refocusing of the program mission and values, it has become NNTVF’s vision to establish a media industry on the Navajo Nation through collaboration with a network of invested partners on Navajo that will equally benefit from media opportunities in film, production, and television, and increase economic opportunities. We invite you to Film Navajo, Produce Navajo, and Watch Navajo.
About the Arizona Commerce Authority
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state's leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona's economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create - attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.