By Rachel Maker, Citizen Potawatomi Nation Public Information Department
Cadence Barreda’s enthusiasm for acting and filmmaking led her to auditioning for roles, starring in commercials and gaining on-set experience before graduating from Deer Creek High School. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member began acting on stage at the age of 4 and joined an agency at 7, which has provided her many opportunities throughout her childhood.
In 2018, Barreda was cast in a short film titled Forget-Me-Not and saw the roles of the director, camera operator and gaffer firsthand. She found the details inspiring.
“It was an amazing experience,” Barreda said. “It really helped me see what goes into making movies because I was on set all the time.”
She said Forget-Me-Not is her favorite shooting experience of her career so far. She was in middle school at the time, and the camaraderie involved in the process sprouted new friendships, which is her favorite aspect of participating in the film. After working on set, she flew out to Los Angeles to attend the North Hollywood CineFest in March 2018. Barreda was thrilled to walk the red carpet and celebrate the film’s success.
Barreda’s love of sci-fi and fantasy inspired her to make her first short film, Game Night.
“I had zero resources because my family didn’t own a camera, so I had my phone and used it to record everything,” she said.
She was the only crew member of her short film, and she had one other individual, her sister, as the only cast member.
Barreda made her directorial debut so she could audition for an Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute camp. She then realized she could send Game Night to multiple festivals.
“I went on FilmFreeway, which is the website to submit films to festivals, and submitted to all the free festivals I could,” she said. “I think in the end I submitted like 70, and I’ve gotten into nine so far,” including deadCenter Film Festival in Oklahoma City and Circle Cinema Film Fest in Tulsa.
Barreda won the Silver Award at the Red Nation Celebration Institute’s Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts. She was also a finalist at the Student World Impact Film Festival for best student short in May 2023 and won Best Short at Finger Mullet Film Festival in St. Augustine, Florida.
“They said they got almost 200 entries and picked 10,” said Kendra Barreda, Cadence’s mother. “Whenever her film showed up, I got teary eyed, like, ‘Oh my gosh, we get to see it on the big screen!’”
Kendra finds pride in her daughter’s work and self-motivation. In the beginning, Cadence did not know how to make a movie, but she used her determination to figure it out.
“I’m so proud of her for being able to think of something and actually follow through,” Kendra said.
Storytelling has been an important thing for Barreda, and she is grateful she can express it through singing, dancing and writing. Acting and filming are just other outlets to express her feelings and thoughts. She called trying to act and make films a “natural progression.”
“I just feel like I have this internal drive, this innate desire, where I cannot see myself doing anything else; so, I’m just going to go as far as I can go,” Barreda explained.
When she graduates high school, she wants to major in theater and minor in film. Barreda hopes to meet people who will help her learn more about the film community and technical aspects of her craft.
Watch Game Night at cpn.news/GameNight.