A new streaming mystery series with key Indigenous talent joins this week's festival listings. With many film festivals offering in-person screenings only, this week’s listings also note if spotlighted titles are available in the US on streaming platforms. International and regional film festivals, an exhibition by New Red Order in Copenhagen, talks at Harvard's Native American Program, online poetry readings, and announcement of 2022 Guggenheim Fellows round out this week's notifications.
and Streaming in US
Premier on Friday, April 15. Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Outer Range is a mystery thriller streaming series created by Brian Watkins for Amazon Prime Video. The first season consists of 8 episodes, with 2 episodes premiering every week from the first week. The plot revolves around Royal Abbott, a Wyoming rancher, who becomes involved in a supernatural mystery following the arrival of Autumn, a drifter with a connection to Abbott’s ranch.
Executive producers on the show include Josh Brolin and Heather Rae. Main actors include Josh Brolin as Royal Abbott, Tamara Podemski (Saulteaux, Israeli) as Deputy Sheriff Joy, Imogen Poots as Autumn, and Lili Taylor as Cecilia Abbott. MorningStar Angeline (Navajo, Chippewa, Blackfeet, Shoshone, Latinx) has a recurring role as Martha Hawk.
International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management
Presented by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Wednesday, April 13, 6 pm - 7:15 pm MDT
Two short films followed by live discussion and Q&A with director Zacharias Kunuk, moderated by Mervyn Tano, President of IIIRM.on Zoom.
Free but RSVP required to get the link.
River of Small Gods Bradley Tangonan (Filipino-American). On the brink of eviction, a Hawaiian woman takes a job to retrieve stones for a sculptor – a journey that takes her to a sacred riverbed where her material and spiritual needs converge. Tangonan presents a modern myth about alienation from the land and the consequences of denying our connection to it.
Angakakusajaujuq (The Shaman’s Apprentice) Animation. Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit). In Inuktitut with English subtitles. A young shaman must face her first test—a trip underground to visit Kannaaluk, The One Below, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill. Facing dark spirits and physical challenges, she must trust her mentor's teachings and learn to control her fear.
April 14 – 24. Tickets. In-person in Seattle and virtually on the SIFF Channel
This program of SIFF focuses on global Indigenous filmmakers sharing Indigenous stories and culture. Centering Indigenous art and artists amplifies voices and perspectives that are essential to our global well-being. cINeDIGENOUS is curated and presented in partnership with Nia Tero.
The Legend of Molly Johnson Feature narrative. Australia. Leah Purcell (Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri). Leah Purcell writes, directs, and stars in this Indigenous outback Western about a pregnant bushwoman who, alone with her children while her husband is gone driving sheep, must protect her family, an Aboriginal fugitive, and her homestead from a suspicious lawman.
Daughter pf a Lost Bird Feature documentary. US. Brooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish). An adult Indigenous adoptee reconnects with her birth mother, her Lummi heritage, and the land of her people..
Run Woman Run Feature narrative. Canada. Zoe Hopkins (Heiltsuk/Mohawk). Beck reclaims her dreams, family, and language when the ghost of runner Tom Longboat coaches her to run a marathon.
Connections - Seen and Unseen - Shorts Program
- Háldi Sápmi/Norway Ann Holmgren (Sámi)
- Weckuwapasihtit (Those Yet to Come) US. Geo Neptune (Passamaquoddy), Brianna Smith (Passamaquoddy).
- The Headhunter’s Daughter Philippines. Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan (Ifugao Tribe/Visayan descent
- Long Line of Ladies US. Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome (Diné
- Ma’s House US. Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock)
- The Trails Before Us US. Fritz Bitsoie (Diné)
- Pili Ka Mo’o US. Justyn Ah Chong (Kanaka Maoli)
April 21 - May 1. Tickets. In-person in San Francisco
Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFFILM Festival) is the longest-running film festival in the Americas. The annual event features a range of marquee premieres, international competitions, compelling documentaries, short and mid-length films, Two features focus on Indigenous stories.
Ayoungman Canada. Larry Day and Holly Fortier (Fort McKay First Nation) On March 17, 2019, 24-year-old Kristian Ayoungman was fatally shot in a racially motivated murder that shocked the Siksika Nation. In two Alberta, Canada, communities, a movement arose demanding Kristian’s murderers be brought to justice. This candid documentary depicts the unity and resilience of the Siksika Nation and the town of Strathmore, Alberta, while also underlining the sobering reality that a high percentage of Canadian homicide victims are Indigenous people.
Utama Bolivia. Alejandro Loayza Grisi. In Quechua and Spanish. Elderly Quechua couple Virginio and Sisa live quiet, mundane lives in the Bolivian highlands tending to their herd of llamas. But the passage of time and an unusually long drought brought on by environmental change threaten their pastoral existence. When their grandson Clever comes to visit and help them with the animals, he also tries to persuade them to join him in the city where family can care for them. A drama that provides subtle commentary on the impact of climate crisis and the loss of Indigenous traditions. Winner of Sundance Film Festival Jury Award for World Cinema - Dramatic. Being released online in May 2022.
LAST DAY! April 18. Tickets. In-person in Chicago and virtual in Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
Feature films with Indigenous themes
Hatun Phaqcha, the Healing Land/Hatun Phaqcha, tierra sana Feature documentary. Peru. Delia Ackerman. Peru is a land of famed “superfoods” such as quinoa. It is also one of the countries with the highest rates of malnutrition, and the film pursues an investigation, interviewing Indigenous farmers about their resiliency and in pursuit of solutions.
Nudo Mixteco Feature narrative. Mexico. Ángeles Cruz (Mixtec). In Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles. The stories of three Mixtec women who return to their fictional town of San Mateo at the time to celebrate the patron saint. Determined to take control of their lives, they encounter their realities there and the film is a poignant tale about migration, poverty, and sexual identity.
Zahorí Feature narrative. Argentina, Switzerland, Chile, France. Marí Alessandrini. In Spanish with English subtitles. Mora, a young girl living in the Patagonian steppes with her Italian family, is bullied at school and finds friendship with Nazareno, an elderly Mapuche, who teaches her about essentials of life there. When Nazareno disappears while searching for his lost horse, Zahori, Mora with her little brother sets out on a journey across this imposing land to find him.
Short films with Indigenous themes
Maidenhood/La Baláhna Narrative short. Mexico. Xóchitl Enríquez Mendoza. In Zapoteco and Spanish with English titles. Submitted to the traditional examination, Catalina fails to demonstrate her chastity, raising the question of her future in the community.
Prairie Flowers/Flores de la llanura Documentary short. Mexico. Mariana X. Rivera. In Ñomndaa with English Subtitles. After the murder of Silvia, her cousin and other weavers from the Prairie of Flowers create a ritual of mourning and take action against violence against women, with hopes of healing and moving forward.
Yagán Lessons/Twakana Yagán Documentary short. Argentina. Rodrigo Tenuta, Ignacio Leonidas. In Yagán and Spanish with English subtitles. In Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South American two brothers speak, teach, and remember the Yagán language and the songs of their grandfather as they ride their horses through the harsh landscape on a journey of ancestral reflection.
WORLD FILM EVENTS and FESTIVALS
and Streaming in US
April 20. In-person in Canada.
National Canadian Film Day, presented annually by REEL CANADA, is a massive one-day, coast-to-coast-to-coast celebration of Canadian cinema. This year the Spotlight is presented in association with imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, focusing on award-winning Indigenous-made cinema from many diverse nations across Canada. The list reflects the concerted effort in the Canadian film industry to open up further to Indigenous productions, and the longstanding support of Indigenous documentaries by the National Film Board of Canada.
The works reflect a broad spectrum of stories and voices and span genres including drama, comedy, documentary, coming-of-age stories, horror and science fiction. The curated list is extensive, and filled with gems. It provides a unique opportunity to both its in-person audiences in Canada and audiences streaming these titles as Video on Demand in the US.
Descriptions and credits are available on the website.
** indicates that the title is streaming on several platforms in the US. If the title is streaming on one or two US platforms, they are named.
**Angelique’s Isle (2018)
**Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) AppleTV, Isuma.tv
**Blood Quantum (2019)
**The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019) Netflix
**Empire of Dirt (2013)
**Falls Around Her (2018)
**Fire Song (2015)
**The Grizzlies (2019)
**The Incredible 25th Year of Mitzie Bearclaw (2019)
**Maliglutit/Searchers (2016). Apple TV, Isuma.tv
Monkey Beach (2020) Streaming only in Canada
**Night Raiders (2021)
Portraits from a Fire (2021). Streaming only in Canada
**Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013) YouTube
Run Woman Run (2021)
**Rustic Oracle (2019)
**SGaawaay K’uuna/Edge of the Knife (2018) Apple TV
**Ste. Anne (2021) Criterion Channel
**Tia and Piujuq (2018) Apple TV
Tkaronto (2007) Available in US on DVD
**Wildhood (2021) Apple TV
**Angry Inuk (2019)
**Birth of a Family (2016) Free. NFB
**Call Me Human (Je m’appelle humain) (2020) Apple TV, Amazon
**Forgotten Warriors (1997) Free. NFB
**Foster Child (1987) Free. NFB
**Kahnesatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993) Free. NFB
**nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (2019) Free. NFB
**Our People Will Be Healed (2017) Free. NFB
**Reel Injun (2009) Amazon
**The Road Forward (2018) Apple TV
The Spirit of Annie Mae (2002)
April 19 - May 2 Tickets. In-person in different locations in Flanders, Belgium
Offering “films facing the world,” this festival in Belgium is widely recognized for showcasing the best in current independent world cinema. Indigenous-themed and/or directed films are from Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Mexico, and Peru.
Canción sin nombre/Song without Name Peru. Melina Léon. In Quechua, Spanish. Set in the midst of Peru’s political turmoil in the eighties, the baby of a Quechua woman is whisked away moments after its birth in a fake Lima maternity clinic. Her desperate search leads her to a journalist who decides to investigate and make sure justice is served. The story is based on true events; the director’s father was one of the journalists who worked in that era on investigating organized trafficking in children. Streaming in US on various VOD platforms.
Sanctorum Mexico. Joshua Gil. In Mixtec and Spanish. In a small hamlet in the mountains of Oaxaca, on the edge of the war between the military and the cartels which now terrorize and dominate the farmers’ lives, a little boy escapes to the forest to call on his ancestors and the gods for his disappeared mother’s safe return. VOD available in US on Tubi and Amazon.
Magalí Argentina. Juan Pablo Di Bitonto. Upon her mother’s death, Magalí, who works as a nurse in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown in the remote Andes. She had left her son, Félix, with her mother, and left the old way of life behind. After the funeral, Félix refuses to go with her because there is a cougar roaming the mountains at night. According to ancient traditions, the spell has to be broken and mother and son have to perform certain rituals to chase away this cougar. VOD available in US on Tubi and Amazon.
Sin señas particulares/Identifying Features Mexico. Fernanda Valadez. Opening in a tiny village in Guanajuato, the story is about the search of a middle-aged Indigenous woman for her son who has disappeared on his journey to cross the border into the US. She encounters another young man who has been deported back to Mexico who helps in her search. Streaming in US on various VOD platforms
El gran movimiento Bolivia. Kiro Russo. A portrait of a contemporary South American cityscape and those who work within it, set in the alternately harsh and beautiful terrain of La Paz, Bolivia and its surrounding rural areas. Not on VOD in US.
Bootlegger Canada. Caroline Monnet (Algonquin, French). In French, English and Algonkian. Looking to complete her thesis, Mani (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) leaves Montreal for the Algonquin community where she spent her youth. Her reintegration is complicated by a conflict with Laura (Pascale Bussières), a settler bootlegger, and a contentious referendum over alcohol sales on the reserve. Not on VOD in US.
Nudo mixteco Mexico. Ángeles Cruz (Mixtec). In Mixtec, Spanish. Converging around the yearly festival of a village in Oaxaca’s Sierra Mixteca, this drama depicts the upheaval created when three people who left return home. Maria comes to bury her mother but faces her father’s condemnation of her sexuality. Estebán returns expecting his wife to be waiting for him after years of absence. Toña is compelled to address a childhood trauma that is impacting her daughter. A strong portrayal of the constraints on women’s lives within a culture of machismo as well as of the strength of community. Not on VOD in US.
April 19 - 23, 2022 Free. In-person at Théâtre Lepic in Paris
Ethnografilm Paris is sponsored by the International Science Council. It promotes the field of non-fiction filmmaking and video ethnography, and is organized by a number of affiliated groups in the US and Canada. Indigenous-themed works come from Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Russian Federation and US, and include both feature and short documentaries. The screenings and forums are free and open to the public, None of the features are streaming in the US
The White Reindeer Russian Federation. Zoltan Török. Filmed 11 years apart, the film follows a little girl and her grandfather, who is trying to preserve their Evenki culture in the the homeland in the Siberian taiga, and documents the increasing difficulty of sustaining any part of the once-nomadic life.
The Second Encounter Brazil. Veronique Ballot. 64 years ago the filmmaker’s father was a photojournalist in an expedition to the Xingu organized by the Villas-Boas brothers, when the first encounter took place between the Metuktire and white men. The filmmaker follows the path of that journey to find out about the incident, and uses his photos to develop the history of the encounter from the Metuktire point of view.
The Condor & The Eagle Canada, Ecuador, France, Peru, United States. Sophie Guerra, Clement Guerra. Four Indigenous environmental leaders travel from the Canadian plains to deep in the rain forests of Ecuador to deepen the meaning of “climate justice” and to learn from each other’s long history of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy. Featured are Casey Camp-Horinek, Patricia Gualinga, Melina Laboucan-Massino, Yudith Nieto and Bryan Parras.
Necessity: Oil, Water, and Climate Resistance US. Jan Haaken, Samantha Praus. Home to much of the world’s precious freshwater resources, Minnesota is also the site of expanding oil industry infrastructure. The film follows indigenous activists and non-indigenous allies in their resistance to the pipelines traversing native lands and essential waterways.
HUNAP/Harvard University Native American Program
Mary McNeil: “Mapping My Mother’s Nations”
Wednesday, April 13, 6:00 pm EDT. Free. Zoom registration required
Mary McNeil is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Harvard University and an Ann Plato Dissertation fellow at Trinity College. Her research interests sit at the intersections of Native American and Indigenous studies, Black studies, social history, geography, and Black and Indigenous feminisms. This is a part of the Mahindra Humanities Center lectures.
David Treuer: "The Trouble with Tragedy: Imagining the American Indian Past, Present and Future"
Thursday, April 14, 6:00 pm EDT. Free. In-person at the Harvard Art Museums. Seating is limited. Masks are required, and are available at the program.
In HUNAP's 2nd Annual Lecture, David Treuer (Leech Lake Ojibwe) offers a fresh and in-depth perspective on the current state of affairs for Native and Indigenous peoples in the Americas. Drawing from his experience growing up on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and as an accomplished academic, Treuer’s award-winning work includes four novels and three works of non-fiction. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where is a professor of English at the University of Southern California
“The Power of Portraits with Hidden Faces” by Ana Karina Zatarain in The New Yorker, March 30, 2022. The Zapotec photographer Luvia Lazo documented her grief, and her community, by asking her subjects to conceal their faces or turn away.
March 23 - August 7. Open daily in the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
As part of the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, the Kunsthal Charlottenborg invited New Red Order to curate an international group exhibition and film program. The exhibition occupies the entire north wing and connects artists, works and experiences from different places around the world from Kalaallit Nunaat and Sápmi to Hawaii.
New Red Order is an unusual institution: a "public secret society" of rotating and expanding membership, including core contributors Adam Khalil (Ojibway), Zack Khalil (Ojibway), and Jackson Polys (Tlingit), who confront colonial structures with incisive humour, to promote Indigenous futures.
The exhibition features the work of an international group of emerging and established visual artists: Asinnajaq, Hanan Benammar & Uyarakq, Minik Bidstrup, Sean Connelly, Carola Grahn, Julie Edel Hardenberg, Inuk Silis Høegh & Asmund Havsteen-Mikkelsen, Fox Maxy, Joar Nango, New Red Order, Laura Ortman, Solvognen, Krista Belle Stewart, Tanya Tagaq, Tarrak, Uvagut TV. The exhibition is accompanied by public events including a large event--Ted Talk on Acid--on 25 March--and a film program curated by NRO, April 6-May 15.
Upcoming Festivals with Indigenous Films
- NMAI Living Earth Festival. April 22 - May 15. Online
- Hot Docs Festival. April 28 – May 8. In-person in Toronto and online in Canada
- Sarasota Native American Film Festival. April 29 - May 7. In-person in Sarasota and online
APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
Available On Demand
NMAI/National Museum of the American Indian
Young Indigenous poets use written and spoken words to express their worldviews and advocate for personal and community needs. This event features poets Sareya Taylor (White Mountain Apache/Diné), Kinsale Drake (Diné) and jaye simpson (Sapotaweyak Cree Nation), moderated by Kelly Caballero (Tongva). Part of NMAI’s Youth in Action: Conversations about Our Future series.
2022 M.L. Smoker Reads, "Book of the Missing, Murdered and Indigenous-Chapter 1"
M.L. Smoker (Assiniboine and Sioux) is one of two Montana poets laureate asked to share the position of Poet Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets.
2021 Laura Tohe Reads, “For Kathryn”
Laura Tohe (Diné) is a Poets Laureate Fellow of the Academy of American Poets and the 2020 Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. Read this poem here. And more poems by this poet here.
AWARDS AND HONORS
In 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships were awarded to a group of 180 exceptional individuals, chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out or almost 2500 applicants. Indigenous and Native awardees include:
- Brenda J. Child (Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians) - US History
- Brandon Hobson (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) - Fiction
- Canupa Hanska Luger (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara and Lakota) - Fine Arts