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  • George Samuels

Interview with Bernadine Santistevan of “Wolf Dog Tales”

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

In this candid interview, I chat with Bernadine Santistevan, Writer/Director/Producer of the award-winning, animated short Wolf Dog TalesWolf Dog Tales was inspired by the Pueblo Indian stories she grew up with in New Mexico.

Bernadine's film’s success includes: Official Selection for the Annecy Film Festival 2012; Comic-Con’s Best Animated Film 2012; and Winner of ASIFA EAST Excellence in Writing 2012.

Return of the Ancestors

Bernadine’s ancestors came from Spain during the Inquisition, but she also has a bit of Pueblo Indian in her lineage. Wolf Dog Tales is a series of six mini stories interwoven to teach us about ancient indigenous wisdom that is so needed right now in the world we live in.

It is also inspired by Bernadine’s dog, Paco, who shared their lives together for a strong 20 years. During Paco’s final years, he taught Bernadine a lot about life and the planet we inhabit. Much of our world’s indigenous wisdom can also be found through the natural world and animal kingdoms. Before we embark into the spirituality behind Bernadine’s story, let’s take a look at some of the animation.


Although Bernadine is the creator behind the film, the animation was done by Emmy award-winning animator, Igor, and the music by a Pueblo-Indian and Grammy Award-winning artist, Robert Mirabel.

With this stellar team put together, Igor managed to create a very unique piece, which includes a new animation technique called “faux sand painting animation™.”

He used a variety of innovative approaches including: stop motion sand animation, sand painting animation and wind erosion animation. If you’d like to learn more about faux sand painting animation™, you can download details here.

White Wolf

Something else I discovered about Bernadine was her connection to the White Wolf. Yes, the White Wolf. For those of you that know me, I am equally as passionate about the lessons animals and nature have to teach us. You will hear the story in the interview, but Bernadine was approached by White Wolf just like I was back in 2007 (through a dream).

The animal spirits are not bound to the cultural or racial restrictions we place in our societies, which explains how the both of us (who are considered “outsiders” due to our heritage or mixed blood) were approached by a foreign animal spirit.

What this tells me is that our ancestors are certainly working to get back in touch with us, to guide us into using our passions and talents to re-awaken ancient wisdoms.

Interviewing Bernadine was like a breath of fresh air. We got to chat a bit more after the interview, and we also went over the topic of money and finances. For creatives (who I like to call creative entrepreneurs now), the next lesson is for us to learn how to balance the needs of the material world we live in, with the deeper, spiritual needs for expression.