Selected for the 2020 Inaugural Indigenous List, hosted by Sundance, IllumiNative, and The Black List:

Inspired by the 20th C. Oklahoma Native ballerinas who first found fame with the Ballets Russes in Paris, FIREBIRD portrays three generations of Cherokee Nation dancers: 17-year-old ballerina Ruby Lightfoot; her mother, a frustrated ballerina who is now a flamenco dancer in the South of France, and Ruby’s grandmother, a traditional Shawl Dancer, and the heart and hub of the family.

LOGLINE: An adventurous, teenaged Cherokee ballerina wins a once-in-a-lifetime cultural exchange in the South of France but her rowdy cowboy father insists on chaperoning her -- with his own agenda.

(Original artwork: Armik Malekian,


The Black List review 2020: "There’s simply no denying the heart of this script, which feels very much of the now in the way it handles cultural issues and the frankly thorny history of the treatment of Native Americans throughout United States history. Ruby is a diverse female protagonist at a time when there's a hunger for such stories and voices in the marketplace. The three main characters' relationships are interwoven in a beautiful, seamless way that keeps the pages moving and our emotions consistently engaged. The writer gives the script an admirably immersive sense of place, imbuing it with the specifics of the South of France and the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma."



Awards and Endorsements:

    • Selected for the 2020 Sundance, IllumiNative, and The Black List inaugural Indigenous List
    • Finalist, The Screen Lab and Lonely Seal screenwriting competitions, 2020
    • Winner, Best Feature Screenplay, Tulsa American Film Festival, 2019
    • Quarterfinalist, Austin Film Festival and ScreenCraft Family-Friendly Screenplay, 2017
    • Second Rounder, Sundance Screenwriters Lab, 2016
    • Officially endorsed by the Cherokee Nation Film Office, 2016