Raised in Idaho, Heather Rae (Cherokee) has been doing groundbreaking work as a producer and executive for more than twenty years. She has produced over ten feature films, numerous documentaries, and in 2009 she was named one of Variety’s Ten Producers To Watch for her success with both independent and mainstream films.
From 1996 to 2001, Heather directed the Native Program at the Sundance Institute where she cultivated the work of more than 50 Native American filmmakers and screenwriters. She was also a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2005 she produced well-known documentary TRUDELL, a chronicle of legendary Native American poet/activist John Trudell’s travels, spoken word performances and politics, which premiered at Sundance.
She then produced critically-lauded film FROZEN RIVER (2008), the story of two women who smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada to the United States. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance that year, as well as two Gotham Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, including Piaget Award for best producer, and was nominated for two Academy Awards.
Her 2010 film THE DRY LAND, which follows the struggle of a returned US soldier to readjust to homelife, premiered at Sundance and went on to win three Grand Jury awards at other festivals. Her next film, award-winning feature film MAGIC VALLEY (2011) premiered at Tribeca. Moving into a new sphere, she then produced Sundance comedy hit ASS BACKWARDS, written by June Raphael and Casey Wilson (BRIDE WARS).
Her recent films include SXSW darling I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS (starring STRANGER THINGS’ Natalie Dyer), and Netflix Original TALLULAH, written and directed by ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK writer Sian Heder. TALLULAH reunites JUNO actors Allison Janney and Ellen Page, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. She is currently in post-production with Olivia Milch’s Blacklist script, DUDE.
Heather has sat on the board of trustees for the Sundance Institute and advised to such organisations as The Rockefeller Foundation, IFP, Film Independent, The Ford Foundation, The Tribeca Institute, and First Americans in the Arts.
See Heather in the following sessions: