Miss Navajo Watch Preview Miss Navajo home page

The Filmmaker

Billy Luther

From Producer/Director Billy Luther:

I hope that people see that I made a film that honors and respects the women in my life. You see my grandmother and great-grandmother in my mother onscreen.

I also feel it was important to show what beauty really means to me. It’s not a physical Miss America thing.

His three favorite films:

The Last Picture Show
Thelma and Louise
The Eyes of Tammy Faye

His advice for aspiring filmmakers:

Do your homework, know who you are meeting with, keep in contact with people and apply to anything and everything you can for funding. Don't spend more than $50.00 on submissions—get them waived if you can. And have a solid list of advisors that includes your peers and mentors.

If you don't already, volunteer at film festivals! That is where I met filmmakers who I still keep in contact with and fellow volunteers who I continue to collaborate with. And you get to know the inner workings of a festival, so you're not completely clueless about the whole process.

His most inspirational food for making independent film:

Grilled cheese and tomato soup. It's cheap and you can make it differently every time.


Billy Luther studied film at Hampshire College and worked for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian Film and Video Center. A past honoree of Film Independent’s Project: Involve, Luther was recently selected for the 2006 Sundance Ford Fellowship, CPB/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH and Tribeca Institute’s All Access Program with his feature documentary MISS NAVAJO, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won Michael Moore's 2007 Special Founders Prize. He is in development on the documentaries Grab, The Untitled Indian Marching Band Project and Nanobah Becker’s narrative Full. Luther belongs to the Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo Tribes.

Read the Filmmaker Statement >>

Read about the making of MISS NAVAJO >>

Learn about what it takes to be a pageant contestant >>

Home | The Film | Navajo Culture | The Pageant | The Making Of | The Filmmaker
Learn More | Get Involved | Talkback | Film Credits | Get the DVD | Site Credits
Watch Preview MISS NAVAJO