Native of the San Francisco Bay area, Sean wilder Owen studied photography and film at the San Francisco Art Institute , received a BA at Prescott College in Arizona and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio. As a young man he apprenticed for a time in the studio of his father, well-known Arizona-based sculptor John Waddell. The experience helped refine Owen’s grasp of such art fundamentals as drawing, perspective and composition while confirming in his own mind that sculpture was not his preferred creative path. Beginning in 1973 he spent 33 years in administrative and teaching positions at boarding schools in Sedona, at Walnut Hill arts boarding school in Boston and at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California. He served as dean of students, assistant Headmaster and taught photography, video production and Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a 7th-degree black belt.


After retiring in 2005, Sean and his wife settled in Durango where his filmmaking focus became full-time. Among his eight previous films, all documentaries, are Borderlands, a portrait of Cahuilla Indian performance artist Gerald Clarke, and Sing Birds, which opened the Palm Springs Native Film Festival to an overflow audience in 2009 and was nominated for best documentary at the Native American Film Festival in San Francisco. Sing Birds focuses on the ancient tradition known as bird songs, ceremonial and social singing among tribes in California and Arizona. Sing Birds is presently being used in an on-going exhibition around California Indians at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.


Sean Wilder Owen is presently living in Durango, Co. with his wife artist Polly Walker, he has two grown daughters Lisa and Seana.


John Henry Waddell:

Polly Walker:

lisa scott owen: