Teena Pugliese is a youth mentor and digital artist turned activist who's work spans from documentary features & short form satires to improvised and scripted narrative films. All of which focus on human rights, civic engagement through storytelling, and democratizing filmmaking opportunities for all voices to be heard. She co-produced, edited and recorded content for Awake: A Dream From Standing Rock, a Netflix documentary about the NODAPL movement. She is focused on land stewardship and developing deep community with people, place & planet and has a passion for using storytelling & performance as pathways toward healing & connection.
She traveled to Standing Rock in 2016 to create content to help stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. 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 across the United States. She found a passion for working with the youth and in 2019, along with Tokata Iron Eyes they created Maské. Using drama and improvisation, they worked with Floris and Gloria WhiteBull to work through the trauma that they face with the ongoing issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Some platforms she has loved to produce/film/edit content for are 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, Indigenized Youth, Unify, Digital Smoke Signals, Defend the Sacred Alliance, One Billion Rising & Indigenous Environmental Network.
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 filmed. She was also the lead singer of The Hungry Kisses at El Cid on Sunset Blvd.
She has a BA in theatre with an emphasis in directing and performance. When she lived in LA she assistant instructed Active Analysis at The Stanislavsky Institute for the 21st Century Actor with Dr. Sharon Carnicke. She coached actors for on camera work, giving guidance from an editor’s perspective as well as teaching how to develop and produce their own content.
Before Covid, she traveled across Turtle Island (USA) and around the globe creating content on human rights violations, raising Indigenous voices, and climate injustice, all of which 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.