Private Project

"1,000 Years a Witness"

12 Shinnecock Native American elders, their spiritual teacher and a child with combined ages of 1,000 years, look back at life on the reservation in hopes to pass on their wisdom and memories to todays native youth before it gets lost in western ideoligy.

  • Bryan Downey
    "Looking Glass", "Nashville Long Island" "ABANANA"
  • Bryan Downey
  • Bryan Downey
  • Bryan Downey
    Key Cast
    "Bryan Downey"
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 27, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Bryan Downey

I am British, I came to the US in 1986 to pursue photography and film production. I have been a professional photographer since 1987 and cinematographer since 1996. As cinematographer on a short "ABanana" in 98, I had my first taste of film festival circuit with screenings in Slam-dance, LA, NY, Austin and more. I was shooting for the San Francisco Examiner Chronicle when the format shifted from film to digital so I took a break and went into sound production opening my own recording studio on Long Island NY. I have worked for every network and every celebrity from Jay-Z to Barbara Walters. I got bored, so went back to photography specializing in native Americans. I was cinematographer on a Native short "LOOKING GLASS" and at the same time directed and shot my own documentary on music. "Nashville Long Island". Both movies have won awards all over the world including Cannes.

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Director Statement

I lived in Vineyard Haven 92-95 working on my photography portfolio on musicians. Being accepted into the Native American communities since 2008 has given me a very rare and privileged opportunity and look into indigenous life from tribes all over the US. Magazines are directed to me by the tribes that better show them in positive light.
"1,000 Years a Witness" was an idea I had when families on the Shinnecock reservation were asking me to portrait their parents and grandparents for prosperity. When one of the elders passed away (I was scheduled to photograph him), I asked all the elders I had worked with to go on camera for an interview. Sadly one of the interviewed passed away 2 weeks after his interview and when I shared his interview with he tribe, I was bombarded with thank you's and support by the entire tribe to continue.