I Am The West
The Autry’s new TV shorts focus on the many faces of the West.
The product of a partnership between the Autry National Center and public television station KCET, I Am the West celebrates the rich culture of the American West in a series of one-minute vignettes. Now available for viewing online, these minidocumentaries — shot in cinéma vérité style, without a narrator or on-camera host — showcase diverse individuals who represent various facets of Western traditions and innovations.
I Am the West was conceived by Paula Kessler, the Autry’s director of exhibition media, and her in-house production team. Her stated goal: to offer a range of subjects, locations, and points of view as broad and diverse as the West itself.
The series, which aired in August on KCET, “seeks to show how the West makes us who we are, and influences what we do, specifically because we make the West our home,” Kessler says. “In each episode, we see how the culture and unique experiences of life in the West inspires and challenges these fascinating people.”
Among the individuals profiled in the series are artist Buff Elting, who explores the landscape of Colorado through her painting using aerial photography; Ruby Chimerica, who makes traditional piki bread in her piki house on the Hopi Reservation; photographer Luis Garza, a longtime champion of Los Angeles muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros; and Japanese American artist Aki Sogabe, who explores her art using traditional paper-cut techniques.
Daniel Finley, president and CEO of the Autry, views the partnership between the Autry and KCET as “a fitting extension of the Autry galleries, where stories of people and places are told. This series will add another dimension to the way we explore history and culture in the West and I am excited to see the finished product on-air and online.”
For more information or to catch up with the series, visit www.theautry.org/i-am-the-west.