PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -- The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum has announced
this year's film lineup for the Native American Film Festival, taking place
March 14 -- 19 at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs.
This highly anticipated cultural celebration's opening night will precede
screenings throughout the week. The festival will present a varied
combination of documentaries and short films that represent a wealth of
talent and a diversity of expression that continues the tradition of
The festival begins with "Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action,"
Roberta Grossman's powerful nationwide examination of the contemporary
threat of environmental hazards to American Indian homelands.
March 15 will feature "Aleut Story," Marla Williams' poignant account of
Aleut-Americans' decades-long struggle for human and civil rights, from
isolated internment camps of World War II-era Southeast Alaska to Congress
and the White House. Emmy Award-winning actor Martin Sheen narrated this
A documentary double-bill will be featured March 16, with "Teachings of the
Tree People: The Life of Bruce Miller," Katie Jennings' remarkable portrait
of the actor/artist/educator/environmentalist/historian's complex life, his
inspiring outlook on life and his struggles to keep Native traditions alive
in the contemporary world. The evening's second film is "Stolen Spirits of
the Haida Gwaii," Kevin McMahon's multi-award-winning documentary about the
Haida people's journey to bring home the skeletal remains of their
ancestors which were stolen from their villages a century ago.
A gala dinner on the evening of March 17 at the Palm Springs Convention
Center will feature Native entertainment and honored guest N. Scott
Momaday. Referred to as "the dean of American Indian writers" by The New
York Times, Momaday holds an important place in the American literary arts.
A poet, playwright, artist, essayist and novelist, Momaday crafts -- in
language and imagery -- majestic landscapes of a sacred culture. Momaday
was the first American Indian to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his
novel, "House Made of Dawn."
The March 18 "Family Shorts" program is a lively collection of animated and
live-action short films suitable for the entire family. This program will
be followed by a kid-style reception.
That day's screening will highlight the "centerpiece film" of the festival,
"Spirit Riders -- Riding to Mend the Sacred Hoop," James Kleinert's
visually rapturous exploration of the birth of an American Indian peace
movement and how its growth has united such diverse regions of the world as
Central America, Australia, Ireland and South Africa. Narrated by acclaimed
actor Peter Coyote ("Erin Brokovich," "Bitter Moon") and featuring "Lord of
the Rings" star Viggo Mortensen.
Presented on March 19 will be "New Native Voices," an adventurous program
of short films focused on the work of a talented new breed of Native
filmmakers whose contemporary and exciting perspectives on traditional
issues of culture and heritage showcases a brave and promising Native
cinema to come.
Concluding the festival is a special closing-night film: "Trudell," Heather
Rae's acclaimed, beautifully woven, impressionistic portrait of iconic
American Indian poet/activist John Trudell and his turbulent life which
represents both a literal and metaphorical mirror of modern Native history.
The closing night reception will give film buffs and filmmakers alike a
chance to mingle and bask in the success of what has become the West
Coast's finest American Indian film festival.
Consistent with the museum's mission of education and outreach, ticket
prices for the festival are very reasonably priced. For more information,
the complete festival schedule and a synopsis of each film, visit the Agua
Caliente Cultural Museum's Web site, www.accmuseum.org, or call (760)