Douk Independent Short Film
Douk Independent Short Film

This project has already launched.


Douk is a historical fiction drama based in the 1910’s era. It tells the story of a young Native girl, Irene, who deals with a difficult reality of her and her sister being taken away from their family and sent to boarding school, where they will be assimilated into the western culture. This means that once this happens, they will no longer be able to practice their language, culture, and traditions. In order to prevent this from becoming a true actuality, Irene’s parents hatch a plan to save them.

Inspiration for this Story

This project was inspired by not only my great grandmother, who experienced these types of boarding schools, but other tribal elders’ stories in my community. For many years this has been a topic that has a hidden subject from general discussion in the United States. This is a subject that needs to be explored and discussed by the general public.

The Team

Writer/Director - Michelle Hernandez
Writer/Director - Michelle Hernandez

Michelle Hernandez is a Native American filmmaker and photographer. She is a Wiyot tribal member and grew up on the Table Bluff Reservation. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Film and Electronic Media at American University in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. at Humboldt State in both Film and Native American Studies. Many of her work focuses on the importance of culture, traditions, and identity, as well as dealing with Native American subjects. With her work she wants to give voice to stories that help breakdown stereotypes. 

Producer - Courtney Brooks
Producer - Courtney Brooks

Courtney Brooks is a photojournalist, filmmaker, and scriptwriter who enjoys creating and watching films that bring awareness to true stories. Courtney has a BS in Biology from Spelman College and a MA in film and Video from American University. She believes that through film you can take any issue and make it feel more personal to those who may not be directly affected by it. She believes that if you can get people to see someone else's perspective, you can get them to care and get involved. That is the power of filmmaking for her and why she has dedicated her passion for film and photography to telling the stories that bring awareness, create conversation, action, and change. Courtney's future plans involve directing for documentaries as well as continuing her work as a photojournalist and scriptwriter.

Producer - Carolyn Silvernail
Producer - Carolyn Silvernail

Carolyn Silvernail is a photographer, filmmaker, and musician. Born in Germany as an Air Force brat, Carolyn is now a military wife of an Army officer. Having lived in various countries and states in the US, she currently lives in the DC area with her husband and two cats. Carolyn has her BA in music performance from Millikin University, her BA in filmmaking from New Mexico State University, and an MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. At present, she is working on completing her MFA degree in Filmmaking at American University with her thesis film, Before I Wake. Her future plans involve directing and working as a DP in the film industry as well as continuing her work as a photographer and digital artist. See some of Carolyn's artwork here

Assistant to Producer/Editor - Richard Wenzler
Assistant to Producer/Editor - Richard Wenzler

Richie Wenzler is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate for Film and Electronic Media at American University. He’s finishing up on his thesis project Insomnia Nights. In the fall of 2012, Richie earned a B.A. Degree in both Telecommunications and Communications & Culture at Indiana University. Currently, Richie works as a film reviewer for Picture Lock. He has also appeared on the Picture Lock radio show and Arlington in the Morning on WERA FM. Most recently, Richie was a freelance editor for ACE Media and assisted on several projects of theirs. One of his works has been featured on sites including Sports Spectrum and ESPN. In addition, Richie has been involved in various film productions, and loves to collaborate with others. A lifelong fan of film, Richie hopes he can infect his energy of film to others.  

Why your help is so important!

We are so excited to share this project with the world, but before that can happen we need your help! Our funding goal is based on a detailed production budget and we need every penny to make this film a reality.

Budget Breakdown:

  • Cast and Crew 
  • Travel Expenses 
  • Camera 
  • Lighting 
  • Sound 
  • Period Costumes/ Set Design 
  • Music 
  • Food and Lodging 
  • Marketing and Publicity Post Production 
  • Film Festival Fees

As many of you know, creating a great film is not free and we appreciate each and every penny donated. We also deeply appreciate you sharing our Kickstarter with your friends and family!

Please contact us with any inquiries or comments to: and visit our Instagram and Facebook pages!

This is a story that needs to be told and with your generous help, we can bring it to life.

Much love,

Team Douk


Risks and challenges

The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff. Douk is an ambitious project and we are consciously making decisions to bring authenticity and realism to our film. This authenticity extends to locations, actors, set design, and costumes. As this is a period piece taking place in the early 1900’s, it is essential that we have what we need to adhere to that time period. We plan to shoot on a reservation in California using local Native actors as well as bringing in Native actors from different areas of the country. Many of our crew are based in the Washington DC area and finding the funds to send us to California is a crucial first step. We know where we want to shoot, but we need the funds to get us there. We also need to find our Native actors and we need the funds to do so. That said, our biggest expenses and challenges will be travel costs, cast/crew expenses, set design and costumes. Creating a meaningful and accurate story is our main focus and hitting our Kickstarter goal will bring us much closer to bringing the film to life.

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