'Smoke Signals' director Chris Eyre finds a new creative outlet

LOS ANGLELES, Calif.-- Multi-award winning Native American director/producer Chris Eyre brings an indie director's sensibility to prime time television in the third season of NBC's 'Friday Night Lights.' Eyre directed the seventh episode of 'Friday Night Lights' entitled 'Keeping Up Appearances,' which will air on Friday, February 27, 2009, 9/8 central. This is the second time Eyre has crossed over from feature films to mainstream prime time television after directing an episode of NBC's 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' that aired on December 9, 2008. The loose style, spontaneity and free-flowing camerawork of 'Friday Night Lights' was uniquely suited to Eyre's senses that are based in human drama, comedy and spirit, as seen in numerous feature films from 'Smoke Signals' through 'Edge of America'.

Eyre's debut film, 'Smoke Signals' (1998), won the coveted Sundance Film Festival Filmmakers Trophy and the Audience Award, and was hailed as a breakthrough film that transcended stereotypes to capture contemporary Native American lives and humor. Eyre's strengths as a filmmaker grew with subsequent films - 'Skins' starring Graham Greene and Eric Schweig - a gritty tale of two brothers on the Pine Ridge Reservation and 'Edge of America' – the powerful and provocative true story of a Black high school basketball coach who takes an underachieving Native American girl's team to the State finals. 'Edge of America' was selected as the opening night film of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and brought Eyre a DGA's award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement -- the first Native American to win a DGA award. Eyre also directed 'A Thousand Roads,' the award-winning, wide screen, dramatic signature-film of the prestigious Smithsonian's Nat'l. Museum of the American Indian, selected to premiere at Sundance, followed by an unlimited run in the Smithsonian's surround sound theater in Washington, DC.

'I am happy to be working and continuing to tell stories that reflect on the wealth of good people and their characters. I believe stories do change the world in any form.' Said, Eyre recently of his move into television.

Eyre has also just completed production of the landmark PBS series 'We Shall Remain' set to air this April 2009. 'We Shall Remain,' is one of the most ambitious television series on Native history ever produced, involving a five-part multifaceted story of Native perseverance that spans three centuries – from the battles of the Wampanoags of New England in the 1600's to the American Indian Movement leaders of the 1970's, who harnessed the momentum of the civil rights movement to forge a Pan-Indian identity.

In addition to film awards, Eyre was named a 2007 Rockefeller Foundation Fellow with a $50,000 grant and named by United States Artists as one of the 50 most important American artists of 2008.