Central Wyoming College is home to the state’s only Film & TV program. This summer, that program will become a full-fledged production company to put together a pilot for a crime drama set and shot on and around the Wind River Reservation.
The show will be called “Wind River,” and will star several professional actors from the Riverton area as well as Reservation locals.
Amanda Nicholoff is a professor of TV & Communications at CWC—and the creator of the new show. She says she’s been disappointed by TV shows set in Wyoming that film elsewhere—like A&E’s Longmire, which is shot in New Mexico.
She’s also been disappointed by national depictions of the Wind River Reservation—which often include unfair stereotypes about criminal activity.
“We hope that this project will give the people of the Reservation a real sense of pride—that ‘this is our show,’” says Nicholoff. “We’re going to show the nation that we are not a lawless land—that we are wonderful people full of culture and history.”
Nicholoff says the project is also a chance to boost Wyoming’s reputation as a filming location. Many of her students must leave the state to find work.
The budget for the pilot is just $5,000, as the college has access to industry-standard equipment and expertise from students and faculty.
“Wind River” is scheduled to begin shooting its pilot episode this month.