Heather Rae



  • Producer

Program Years

  • Grants and Awards 2009


Heather Rae has worked in a producing capacity on more than a dozen documentaries and half dozen features throughout her twenty years in the film industry. She produced Frozen River, which stars Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, and Marc Boone Jr. Frozen River premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize, and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Frozen River was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Screenplay, won the Gotham Award for Best Picture and Best Actress, and was nominated for seven Spirit Awards resulting in a Best Actress win for Melissa Leo and the Producer of the Year for Rae. Additionally she produced Ibid, starring Christian Campbell, which premiered at the 2008 South By Southwest film festival and internationally at the Munich Film Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious CineVision Award. Rae is currently producing The Dry Land starring America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Jason Ritter, and Melissa Leo, which will be financed by the newly formed Maya Entertainment and released in the Fall of 2009. Sergio Aguero (y tu mama tambien, Quarantine) is executive producing alongside Ferrera. Previously Rae produced and directed Trudell, which premeired at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and played Tribeca, SilverDocs, Full Frame, Seattle, and over 100 other festivals. Trudell was released theatrically by Balcony Releasing and played over 60 markets before airing on PBS' Independent Lens and the Sundance Channel. Trudell won numerous awards including a Special Jury Prize from the Seattle Film Festival and Best Documentary from the American Indian Film Festival. Rae is producing and directing Family:The First Circle, a documentary about the foster care system; the project received the Sundance Documentary Grant and was selected fro Tribeca All Access, both in 2008. Rae received the ReNew Media Rockefeller Award for the project as well. Rae produced Out of the Blue: A Film about Life and Football for ESPN, and Hart Sharp about the Boise State University Football team and their 2006 undefeated season leading up to the Fiesta Bowl victory. For six years Rae ran the Native Program at the Sundance Institute and was a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. After leaving Sundance in 2001 she went on to work for Winter Films as Senior Vice President of Production. For the past seven years she has worked independently as a director and producer, working on projects such as Sawtooth, starring Adam Beach, Gary Farmer, and Udo Kier; Water Flowing Together, about master ballet dancer Jock Soto; and ShiMasani with director Blackhorse Lowe. She co-produced Backroads, directed by Shirley Cheechoo, which premiered at Sundance in 2000. Rae has worked as an advisor or consultant to the Sundance Institute, ITVS, the Rockefeller Foundation, National Geographic, PBS, Film Independent, Independent Feature Project, and other media companies and organizations. Prior to her years at Sundance, Rae produced such documentary films as CBS's 500 Nations, Turner Broadcasting's The Native Americans, and PBS' Storytellers of the Pacific. She produced the behind-the-scenes making of Smoke Signals for the Sundance Channel and was an Associate Producer on Silent Tears, directed by Cheechoo. Rae owns downtown arts collective The Muse Building. She is Cherokee and a mother of three. She and her family reside in Boise, Idaho.

Current Project

The Dry Land (Narrative Feature)


A U.S. soldier returning home from war struggles to reconcile his experiences abroad with the life and family he left in Texas.