Skip to main content

Here's Indigenous Media Initiative's 2021 list of film festivals in November that are streaming the major films of the Indigenous Film Movement in 2021. 

Included is this year's award-winners and even premieres of new works that have not been screened before. Each festival has a special flavor, so read the brief festival descriptions, and check out on their websites the films they are making available. Some charge admission, some are streaming films for free, and many offer interesting online discussions with filmmakers as well.

Festivals included in this list have selected films with Indigenous content and community participation. In most cases these are also films by Indigenous creators.

Native Spirit Online Festival
Oct. 12 - Nov. 20 Tickets. Online in UK or international.
Broadly international on Indigenous peoples in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. Films are available with varying start and end dates.

Hawaii International Film Festival
Nov. 4 - 14. Tickets. In-person in Hawaii
Nov. 4 - 28. Tickets. Online in Hawai’i, region, US, or international
In this, the 41st HIFF, 13 narrative and documentary features, 5 short film programs with Indigenous films, three outstanding conversations on Indigenous filmmaking. Festival has a special focus on film premieres from the Pacific region. Films are available, with varying start dates, through the end of festival.

American Indian Film Festival
Nov. 5 - 13. Tickets. Online in US
This is the 46th year of US’ longest-running Indigenous film festival screening 11 narrative and documentary features and at least 5 programs of award-winning shorts. Films are available the entire festival, with 24 hours to watch once streaming begins.

Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival
Nov. 5 - Dec. 19. Tickets and passes. Online.
Eight feature films and short films from Australia, Ecuador, Honduras, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, and the US focusing on cultural diversity, traditional music, forced acculturation, learning traditions. Films are available every weekend with varying start and end dates. Free films about Garifuna culture are also online.

NY Skins Festival
Nov. 6 - 15. Online. Free with registration on website.
This inaugural festival is a partnership between LA Skins Festival, New York University, and Writers Guild of America-East, highlighting Native American filmmakers in New York and on the East Coast, screening 7 short films and online discussion of Indigenous writing and filmmaking.

New Zealand International Film Festival
Nov. 5 - 21. In-person in Christchurch, New Zealand
Four Indigenous features from Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and US including the premier of Indigenous director and lead actress Leah Purcell’s "The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson."

DOC NYC
Nov. 9 - 18. Tickets. In-person in New York City.
Nov. 9 - 28. Tickets. Online in US and US territories.
Billed as the US’ largest documentary film festival. On the website it’s hard to identify all the films with Indigenous content. The premieres include docs "Warrior Spirit," "Nothing but the Sun," "Newtok" and "Life of Ivanna", plus some works in the short film programs. Films are available, with varying start dates, through end of festival.

Indigenous Film & Arts Festival
Nov. 10, 7 - 8:15 pm MT . Free with registration
The International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management in Denver presents a preview film trailer of "‘Ola Ka Honua - Earth Lives" and conversation with Dr. Arthur Madeiros about the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project in Hawai’i.

The film, “Beans,” featured in the Native Cinema Showcase from Nov. 12-18, 2021, tells the story of the Canadian Oka Crisis in 1990 as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl. It is directed by Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer. (Photo by Sebastien Raymond, courtesy of NMAI)

Native Cinema Showcase
Nov. 12 - 18. Free. Online in US, internationally (check listings)
This key film festival of the National Museum of the American Indian, founded in Santa Fe with the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque in 2000, is streaming 7 outstanding recent narrative and documentary feature films, four programs of short films, and four filmmaker panels. Consult website for dates and times of each.

(Related: Native Cinema Showcase opens for world viewing)

LA Skins Fest
Nov. 16 - 21. Ticketed. In-person in Los Angeles
Characterized by major professional workshops, including Women in Animation and its 2nd Showrunner Workshop, the festival’s screenings are being held in four theaters in Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Ethnographic Film Festival of Pará
Nov. 16 – 21. In-person in Pará, Belém, Brazil
A festival directly related to the Amazon area in which the city of Pará is located, this year has created a specific award for Indigenous films, named in honor of the Xavante filmmaker from Mato Grosso, Divino Tserewahú.

Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival
Nov. 19 - 21. Tickets. In-person in Richmond, Virginia
Nov. 20 - 26. Online. Pass for streaming 11 films is $10.
The 5th year of this festival (founding sponsor is Francis Ford Coppola) is both showcasing new dramatic and documentary works in-person, emceed by Michael Horse, and streaming 15 recent documentaries on a variety of Native American subjects, such as the doctrine of discovery, adoption, the impact on the Seneca of the Kinzua Dam, and profiles of key people like George Attla and LaDonna Harris.

Art of the Real
Nov.  19 - 21. Tickets. In-person in New York City
The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real curates innovative voices in nonfiction and hybrid filmmaking, The 8th showcase is themed “Counter Encounters,” focusing on appreciation and disruption of ethnography and its paradigms, presenting one feature and 41 short films. The short films programs contain one or more Indigenous-themed films, including works by such Indigenous makers as Brazilian activist Ailton Krenak, Thirza Cuthand, and Zezinho Yube.

New York African Diaspora International Film Festival
First Nation Films
November 26 - December 12. Tickets. Online and In-person in New York City
This prominent festival concerned with African diasporic stories throughout the world also specifically includes a section of outstanding Indigenous films. This year it has selected 6 works from Australia, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and the US, including both premieres and the now-classic "The Return of Navajo Boy."

Indian Country Today - bridge logo