Happy birthday, Erica Tremblay! Today we’re celebrating this fantastic writer and director.
A member of the Seneca-Cayuga tribe based in Oklahoma, Erica identifies as Indigenous as well as queer. Incorporating her identity into her work, Erica is always aiming to tell stories that have been historically marginalized.
Erica began her filmmaking career making documentaries. In 2012, Erica released her first feature-length documentary, Heartland: A Portrait of Survival. The film documents four weeks of the aftermath of the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, destroying nearly a quarter of the city. The subject of the film, aptly named Heartland, was close to Erica’s heart, as she had previously lived in Joplin and still had family there.
In 2014, Erica released her next documentary In the Turn. The film began as a profile of the members of the Vagine Regime, a “queer roller derby collective.” However, when Erica received a message from the mother of one member, Crystal, about Crystal’s struggles with her gender identity as a trans woman in sports, the film became a documentation of Crystal’s journey in finding acceptance through the Vagine Regime.
As a queer woman, Erica’s personal connection to the subject matter is woven throughout. In the words of FF2 guest poster Alexa Silverman, “Alongside writing and directing the documentary, Erica is a featured derby skater with the moniker ‘Go-Go Gidget.’ The deeply personal perspective Erica breathes into this film is felt in every shot – from each skater narrating her different journey to the collective, to a queer after-hours burlesque show at a local bar, to footage of Crystal’s mother skating with her smiling daughter and her little brother holding on to her hips – and beyond.”
Since her time as a documentary filmmaker, Erica has since moved into the world of television, working on the acclaimed series Dark Winds and Reservation Dogs. Working as the Executive Story Editor and writing episodes for both, Erica has continued to stay true to her identity through these new pursuits. Dark Winds is a crime drama about an Oklahoma Reservation Chief investigating a series of murders, while Reservation Dogs is a sitcom about four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma. Though vastly different in genre, Erica’s origins in the Seneca-Cayuga tribe in Oklahoma shine through in both of these series.
Erica is a leader in the fight for better media representation for queer and indigenous communities. In the words of Alexa Silverman, “Erica Tremblay tells genuine stories that are directly voiced by primarily Indigenous and queer communities. Through and beyond her work we are fortunate to witness the beginning of a shift in Indigenous media representation, to behind the camera (and in the costume and makeup trailers, writer’s room, and producer’s offices) as well as in front.” Today is the day to celebrate Erica, for turning a year older and also for her incredible contributions to the film and television world.
© Julia Lasker (12/28/2022) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Alexa Silverman’s tribute to Erica Tremblay here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: Erica and Dallas Goldtooth on set of Reservation Dogs. Photo courtesy of Erica Tremblay & used with her permission. All Rights Reserved.