Teena Pugliese is a youth mentor and digital artist turned activist who's work spans from documentary features & short form satires to improvised narrative films; with a focus on human rights issues, civic engagement through storytelling, and democratizing filmmaking opportunities for marginalized voices.
She traveled to Standing Rock in 2016 to create content to help stop the Dakota Access Pipeline where she lived at camp for 3 months until forcefully removed. In 2017, she moved to the Standing Rock Reservation offering free workshops on video & drone production, acting, photography and editing while continuing to create content against injustice in Indian Country. She found a passion for working with the youth and in 2019, along with Tokata Iron Eyes she created Maské. Using acting and improvisation to heal by creating conscious content around the traumas and fears ones life may present.
She is the Founder of Light Machine, a production company that develops conscious content through a healing process and works to bring ceremony, prayer and respect into the filmmaking process. She co-produced, edited and recorded content for Awake: A Dream From Standing Rock, a Netflix documentary about the NODAPL movement.
She has produced/filmed/edited content for Vice, AJ+, Divest Invest Protect, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network, Dancing without Borders, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe & Youth Council, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Sacred Pipe, Indigenized Youth, International Indigenous Youth Council, Earth Guardians, Defend the Sacred, Indigenized Energy, Unify, Digital Smoke Signals, Defend the Sacred Alliance, One Billion Rising & Indigenous Environmental Network.
She has a BA in theatre with an emphasis in directing and performance, when in LA she assistant instructs Active Analysis at The Stanislavsky Institute for the 21st Century Actor with Dr. Sharon Carnicke. She coaches actors for on camera work, giving guidance from an editor’s perspective as well as teaching how to develop and produce their own content.
In her previous life, she produced/developed over 24 test pilot episodes in one month for Lifetime Television's first online platform, FallIntoMe. Her short film created for the 48HR FILM FEST, Raze the Dead, a musical period piece, was nominated for 2016's Best of Los Angeles in which she produced, directed, edited and shot. She was also the lead singer of The Hungry Kisses at El Cid on Sunset Blvd.
She now travels across Turtle Island (USA) and around the world creating content on important Indigenous issues, human rights violations and climate injustice that continue to elude the mainstream media. She trains youth and provides services in the media arts, teaching a regenerative filmmaking process to communities so they may tell their own stories and reclaim control of their own narratives.