PMA professor earns Emmy nod for ‘Words from a Bear’

Jeffrey Palmer, assistant professor of performing and media arts, is celebrating the Emmy® nomination this week for his film “N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear,” as a part of PBS’ American Masters series.

The PBS show was nominated July 28 in the category of “Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.”

Palmer’s film explores the life and creative works of Momaday, a Kiowa and Native America’s most celebrated author of poetry and prose, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1969.  “Words from a Bear,” Palmer’s first feature film, was also selected for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

“I am so thrilled to be a part of American Masters’ Emmy® nominated season,” Palmer said. “Congratulations to American Masters, all of the season’s filmmakers, and to our team who worked so hard on ‘N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear.’ ”

The film’s release was celebrated on campus with an Arts Unplugged event in October 2019, which featured a film screening, as well as talks by Palmer and his father, Gus Palmer, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma and one of the narrators of the film.

Focused on films that offer people a glimpse into the life of Native Americans today, Palmer, who is Kiowa, likes to center his films on land, the creation of place, the diversity of people, the language, the music and the spiritual world.

The American Masters series has already earned 76 Emmy nominations and 28 Emmy Awards, including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special. This year’s season, which includes “Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life,” “Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin,” “Raúl Juliá: The World’s a Stage,” “Rothko: Pictures Must be Miraculous” and Palmer’s film, can be streamed from the PBS website.

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Words from a Bear promotional poster