May 27-June 4. Tickets. In-person in Edmonton. Online program TBA
8:37 Rebirth Narrative. Canada. Juanita Peters. Jared and Sergei, two youth from vastly different backgrounds, become forever linked in a split second with a gunshot. Twenty two years later that moment still reverberates when Jared is released from prison, incarcerated there for the death of Sergei’s father, a convenience store owner.
Abducted Narrative. Canada. Daniel Foreman. An inner-city teen’s life is turned upside down when his drug-running sister goes missing. As he sets out to search for her, he experiences visions in his quest and faces great danger as he gets close to finding her.
Apache Leap Narrative. US. Christian Rozier. In cooperation with the community of San Carlos Apache Reservation. Keane (Ignacio Kenton) is an artist on a desperate mission to get a job before the deadline passes and his dreams evaporate, while navigating family stresses, enemies from his past, and an unpredictable old car.
Big Crow Documentary. US. Chris Kraczor. A chronicle of the legendary influence of the high school basketball state champion SuAnne Big Crow, and how, thirty years after her death her spirit still inspires hope at Pine Ridge.
Black Sea Golden Ladder - The Visual Album Music/experimental. Aotearoa/New Zealand. An exploration of the human experience that spans from childhood to death through the lens of seven Māori directors. This is a visual album inspired by the ten tracks on musician Troy Kingi’s recent album entitled Black See Golden Ladder.
Bring Her Home Documentary. US. Leya Hale. Bring Her Home follows three Indigenous women – an artist, an activist, and a politician – as they fight to vindicate and honor their missing and murdered relatives who have fallen victims to a growing epidemic across Indian country.
Circle of Eagles Documentary. Canada. Merv Thomas. community members, and parole officers share powerful stories of hope and healing from the legacy of Canadian residential schools, foster care, and systemic racism.
Healing Nation Documentary. Canada. Jamuna Galay-Taman. An intimate look at the impact of children being separated from their parents because they are Indigenous.
However Wide the Sky: Places of Power Documentary. US. David Aubrey. The history and spirituality of Indigenous peoples of the American Southwest are deeply rooted in the Land. Since the beginning of time, they have been stewards and protectors of their home lands, past and present. These places intimately connect the People and their beliefs to the natural world.
My “Indian” Name Documentary. Canada. Abraham Côté. A look at how having their traditional names stripped away from them has impacted Indigenous people.
Parallel Lines Narrative. Canada. Benjamin Ross Hayden. In the near future, technology firm Red-Eye is on the verge of developing a revolutionary contact lens that records human sight to replicate memories.
Portraits from a Fire Narrative. Canada. Trevor Mack. A coming of age film following an eccentric misfit who spends his days recording and vlogging his community, until he meets an older, influential teenager who pushes him to show his latest work about his family to the community, leading to a reckoning between the past and the future.
Precious Leader Woman Documentary. Canada. Cassie De Colling. World champion snowboarder Spencer O’Brien realizes her Indigenous heritage holds more strength than she could have imagined.
- Cinema Red: Full Native Horror
- Dear Friend
- Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors)
- Hop Along Hand On
- I Am the Warrior
- In Our Own Hands
- Johnny Crow
- Ma’s House
- My First Native American Boyfriend
- The O Show
May 20 - 26. Tickets. In-person in NYC. Online in US.
Delikado Documentary feature. The Philippines. Karl Malakunas. The island of Palawan, an idyllic tropical place, is in peril. One of Asia’s most visited tourist destinations, the land has suffered devastating blows from illegal logging and fishing. Local people have become environmental champions to save the precious land they call home. Co-presented with DCEFF.
May 30 - June 2. Free tickets. In-person in Toronto. Online in Canada.
Klabona Keepers Documentary feature. Canada. Tamo Campos. An ntimate portrait of the dynamic Indigenous community that succeeded in protecting the remote Sacred Headwaters, known as the Klabona, in northwest British Columbia from industrial activities.
May 28, 6 pm EDT. Tickets and free for members. In-person in New York City. Proof of vaccination and mask required.
An evening of short films that explore care and repair in everyday life--materially, socially, ecologically--hosted by Dr. Joshua Bell, Curator of Globalization at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and acting head of NMNH's Anthropological Film Archives. Screening Jáaji Approx (dir. Sky Hopinka), Kapaemahu (dir. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu), and Mobile Goroka (dir. Jackie Kauli).
Hybrid. May 28-31: in-person in Telluride, Colorado. May 31-June 6: Online TBA
Delikado The Philippines. Karl Malakunas. The island of Palawan has suffered devastating blows from illegal logging and fishing. Three environmental champions--a lawyer, an ex-illegal logger and a fearless politican--are seen as they work to save the precious land they call home. Preceded by Pili Ka Mo’o.
Horse Tamer France. Hamid Sardar. In the Darhat Valley of northern Mongolia, horses of the nomad tribes are being stolen and taken over the border into Siberia to slaughterhouses. The thieves themselves are members of Siberian Tuvan tribes. Filmed over 10 years, this documentary follows a Darhat horseman dedicated to protecting and reclaiming his herd, as the filmmaker probes what horse capture says about modern-day Mongolia.
The Territory Brazil, Denmark. Alex Pritz. In the shrinking Amazonian jungles of Brazil, an urgent, high-stakes struggle for survival is playing out for the indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau tribe. Preceded by ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)
Tigre Gente Bolivia. Elizabeth Unger. Exploring the exploitation of resources in the Indigenous lands and preserves near Indigeous peoples, this focuses on the work of a park ranger to stop the hunting of jaguars, which feeds an illegal global trade extending to Asia.
The Water Walker Canada. Follows young water and Indigenous rights activist Autumn Peltier, Anishnaabe, a story brought to life by animated Indigenous art and compelling narration.
Seeds, the Legacy of the Land Mexico. Elders carry forward ancient knowledge about the maize at the heart of their culture.
Weaving the Path Canada. The reinvigoration of Coast Salish weaving pulls together the present and the past in a project instigated by Deborah Sparrow called Blanketing the City.
Ma’s House US. At the Shinnecock Nation in New York state, a home once at the heart of the community is renovated and turned into a community resource.
The Train Station Canada. An animation ruminates on the experience of being sent to boarding school.
Native Voices: The Intersection of Mountain Sports, Filmmaking and Environmental Advocacy
Saturday, May 29. Free. In-person.
- Dr. Lem Necefer and Connor Ryan, co-director/subject, Spirit of the Peaks
- Jade Begay, Climate Justice Campaign Director, NDN Collective
- Tracy Rector, Managing Director, Nia Tero
- Isaiah Branch-Boyle, cinematographer, Spirit of the Peaks
Hybrid. May 25-29. Tickets. In-person in Goettingen, Germany. Online internationally.
Goettingen's film archives is famous for the quality of its ethnographic documentation world wide. This festival is one of Europe's major ones for contemporary ethnographic documentaries and/or Indigenous ones and this year many individual films are both in-person and online. Some films programmed by regions or themes are only online, including the sections “Focus Latin America” and “Focus Oceania.”
June 2-6. In-person in Wairoa, Aotearoa/New Zealand.
An online virtual screening source, payable in US Dollars, offers a festival of Indigenous Films in honor of Reconciliation Week. For more information go to
FILM SERIES and FESTIVALS
May 20 - 26
Tickets on HRWFF website. A tropical paradise, Palawan, is facing illegal logging and fishing. Co-presented with the Human Rights Watch Film Festival-New York.
In May in addition to the Pacific Heartbeat series--2022’s Season 11 and more films from past seasons 8-10--which is being carried by PBS’ World Channel and others, other PBS series are featuring two outstanding new Indigenous documentaries. Available also online with PBS’ app and Passport membership.
Waterman--Duke: Ambassador of Aloha US/Hawai’i. Isaac Halasima. A beautifully-crafted documentary on the life and contributions of the five-time Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku--on his aloha--who broke swimming records and popularized modern-day surfing while overcoming racism.
Scenes from the Glittering World US. Jared Jakins. Compelling stories of three teens, of trauma and the power of connecting, and the meaningful beauty of their homeland, in an isolated part of the Navajo reservation.
Pacific Heartbeat Seasons 8-11 (2019 to present)
- The Healer Stones
- Loimata, The Sweetest Tears
- High Tide, Don’t Hide
- Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula
- Tokyo Hula
- American Aloha: Hula Beyond Hawaii
- For My Father’s Kingdom
- The Australian Dream
- Anote’s Ark
- Power Meri
- Born This Way: Awa’s Story
- Prison Songs
- Leitis in Waiting
- Te Kuhane o te Tupuna
- Corridor Four
May 19 - 30 Tickets. Online.
Online in US. Daughter of a Lost Bird Documentary feature. US. Brooke Pepion Swaney, Blackfeet, Salish. Kendra Mylnechuk, who is also a producer on this film, grew up in white suburbia knowing little of her Lummi heritage. The search for her birth mother leads her to face a legacy of family trauma and joy.
Online in US. The Retroactive Short Film Program includes Jules Koostachin’s, Attawapiskat First Nation, OChiShwaCho. Kokoom, an elderly and spiritually ailing two-spirit woman has to decide whether to stay with her grandchildren or follow the OChiSkwaCho, the spiritual messenger.
Online in Washington and British Columbia. Loimata: The Sweetest Tears. Documentary feature. Aotearoa/New Zealand. Anna Marbrook. The redemptive tale of waka builder and captain Lilo Ema Siope’s final years, a chronicle of journeys. Confronting intergenerational trauma head-on, the Siope family returns to their homeland of Sāmoa.
Tuesday, May 24. Free. In Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Having control over one's stories and the right to determine the direction of these stories is an essential and ongoing corer. What is story sovereignty, and is there a collective understanding of it?
- Blake Ihimaera (Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi, Ngai Tahu) Head of Content at Te Māngai Pāho,
- Matasila Freshwater (Solomon Islands, Pākehā) Writer, Director
- Dr. Shuchi Kothari, Writer, Producer, Co-founder Pan Asian Screen Collective (India)
- Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa), Producer, Director, Presenter
The New Yorker, May 9, 2022
Read the entire poem in the magazine and also link there to Joy Harjo reading it, on the original audio on NPR-NY.
“In the lands of forgotten memories,
I hear a woman singing.
A dog runs in circles, barking.
Then children laugh as they run through,
The sashes of one girl’s dress are dragging
On the ground from playing horse...”
AWARDS AND HONORS
This week IllumiNative, The Black List and Sundance Institute announced the finalists for their 2022 Indigenous List. Founded in 2020, the Indigenous List provides a platform for Indigenous writers to showcase their scripts, create opportunities within the industry and support the development of the next generation of screenwriters. Mentors for the program are Indigenous creatives who have first-look and/or overall development deals with major studios, including Bird Runningwater, Michael Greyeyes, Sierra Teller Ornelas, and Sterlin Harjo.
The selected screenwriters and their scripts:
- Taietsarón:sere “Tai” Leclaire, How to Deal with Systemic Racism in the Afterlife
- Alex Nystrom, Between
- Bryson Chun and Tara Aquino, Don’t Freak
- Maya Rose Dittloff, Sweetness of the Blood
- W.A.W. Parker, The Baron
- Brian Bahe, Decolonize
- Neil Tinkham, The Taotaomona
- Kathryn Machi, June Rose
In April Netflix and IllumiNative announced their first IllumiNative Producers Program. Eight Indigenous producers were named, selected from hundreds of applicants, based on experience, professional commitment, and the type of project they are working on.
- Ashley Browning, Lovers Cycle
- Taylor Hensel, ᎭᏢ ᎢᏁᎾ (Where Are We Going?)
- Princess Daazhraii Johnson
- Ivan MacDonald, Buffalo Stone
- Coyote Park, Destiny in Sedona
- Blake Pickens, The Hermit
- Mato Standing Soldier, Re:Locate
- Kekama Amona, The Man and the Tree
Indigenous Media Initiatives was founded in 2014 as a consulting and advocacy organization for Indigenous film and art practices. IMI's creative director is Elizabeth Weatherford, emeritus director of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.