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Festival screenings include the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, and the last programs of the San Diego Latino Film Festival, rounded out by an in-person screening at the Museum of the Moving Image’s First Look in New York. Observing Women’s History Month is a retrospective of films from the African Diaspora International Film Festival and docs at NMAI and on PBS. Also online is a new conference at Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center and recorded talks from Historic Huguenot Street and Bard Graduate Center. 

FILM FESTIVALS and PBS

DCEFF/Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 
March 18 – March 27. Tickets. Online.

This year the 30th annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital offers dozens of films on a wide-ranging topics, some co-presented with partner organizations. Indigenous film selections include six feature-length documentaries and one award-winning dramatic film. About a dozen films are part of the short film programs. With a few exceptions, the films are available online internationally. Filmmaker conversations are scheduled with the films; one is presented live via the National Museum of Natural History. One panel focuses entirely on a conversation with Indigenous storytellers.

Go to the DCEFF website to find links to the films and their trailers and the pre-taped Q&As. Some programs are free of charge. Paid programs cost $10. All-Access passes are available for $50. Except as noted, programs are available to stream from noon EDT on Fri, March 18 through 11:45 pm EDT on Sun, March 27.

Festival Award Winner: William W. Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award

Beans Narrative. Canada. Tracey Deer (Mohawk). Explores the 1990 Oka Crisis at Kanesatake, triggered by a development scheme to place a golf course over land held sacred to the Mohawk community, through the eyes of Tekehentahkhwa (nicknamed "Beans"), a young Mohawk girl whose perspective on life is radically changed by these events. The filmmaker herself was there as a young girl, and the film reflects some of her own experiences. It won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Picture in 2021, along with the John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award. Co-presented with the National Museum of the American Indian. Followed by Q&A with the director, Tracey Deer, moderated by Cynthia Benitez, NMAI

Fruits of Labor Documentary. US, Emily Cohen Ibañez. Ashley, a Mexican-American teenager living in California, dreams of graduating high school and going to college. But when ICE raids threaten her family, Ashley is forced to become the breadwinner, working days in the strawberry fields and nights at a food processing company. Co-presented with Grist. Followed by Q&A with the director and Ashley S. Pavon, featured in the film, moderated by Adam Mahoney, Grist

Helena Sarayaku Manta Documentary. Ecuador, Finland. Eriberto Gualinga Montalvo (Kichwa-Sarayaku) Traveling between her life in Finland and her mother’s homeland deep in the rainforests of Ecuador, 17-year-old Helena Gualinga yearns to protect her indigenous community from extractive development and the repercussions of climate change. Her story highlights the efforts of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku to recognize the Amazon rainforest as a “Kawsak Sacha - Living Jungle”. Guest curated by the Smithsonian’s Mother Tongue Film Festival

High Tide Don’t Hide Documentary. Aotearoa/New Zealand. Niva Kay, Emily McDowell, Nia Phipps, Phil Stebbing. New Zealand teenagers nationwide join the global School Strike for Climate. But planning a movement and building momentum are the easy parts as they face political indifference, , their own privilege, and the ongoing struggle to be heard… as the tides continue to rise. When South Auckland’s prize-winning performance poet Aigagaleifili (Samoan) forms a breakaway strike group, everything must change. Preceded by Crazy Bloody Greens Documentary. Bryce Vernon Groves Explores the lives of “the world’s politest man” and an indigenous activist, who share a special bond as joint leaders of the New Zealand Green Party. Followed by Q&A with the directors of both films, moderated by Mara Webster, In Creative Company. Available only in US.

Newtok Documentary. US. Andrew Burton, Michael Kirby Smith, Exec. Producer: Marie Meade (Yup’ik). Built on land that was once frozen year-round, the foundation of the tiny Yup’ik village has been sinking and eroding for decades. The 360 Yup’ik residents are America’s first climate refugees. To keep their culture and community intact, they must relocate their entire village to solid ground across the river. Co-presented with the National Museum of Natural History. Free with registration on NMNH website. . On March 23, 7:00 pm EDT live Q&A with the directors, producer Marie Meade, and featured subject Della Carl, moderated by Aron L. Crowell (Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center)

Scenes from the Glittering World. Documentary. US. Jared Jakins. Producer: Roni Jo Draper (Yurok). Three Indigenous youth come of age on the fringes of the Navajo Nation. Scenes from the Glittering World is a meditation on adolescence, trauma and the power of connecting with a homeland. Filmed at the most remote high school in the continental United States, at the farthest edge of the Navajo Nation. Co-presented with the National Museum of the American Indian. Followed by Q&A with the directo and, producer Roni Jo Draper, moderated by Elizabeth Weatherford, Indigenous Media Initiatives

2022 Festival Centerpiece Selection
Available only Sun, Mar 20, noon EDT to Tues, Mar 22, 11:45 pm EDT.
The Territory Documentary. Brazil. Alex Pritz. Conveyed through excellent cinematography--following the lives of numerous people and informative and beautiful aerial photography--the film follows the tireless fight in the Brazilian Amazon of the Uru-eu-wau-wau people against the encroaching deforestation brought by illegal loggers and an association of non-native farmers. Co-presented with Amazon Watch. Available only in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Short Films
SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of My Mother) David Hernandez Palmer (Narrative Shorts); ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) Brit Hensel (Profiles and Perspectives I); This is the Way We Rise Ciara Leinaala Lacy, Pili Ka Moʻo Justyn Ah Chong (Profiles and Perspectives II); Diiyeghanaii Taii Tr'eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors) Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Remothering the Land Mark Decena (Profiles and Perspectives III); Guardians of the River Shane Anderson (Conservation I: Rivers); Docs from Alaska on Tlingit and Sitka fishing and language (National Park Service Student Shorts); Arctic Summer Kyle Rosenbluth, Daniel Fradin (Climate Connections I: Evidence and Advocacy)

Panel Discussion: Indigenous Storytellers: Reclaiming the Narrative
Featuring Roni Jo Draper, Ph.D. (Yurok), producer, Scenes from the Glittering World, Brit Hensel (Cherokee), director, ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught), and Colleen Thurston (Choctaw), director, Drowned Land, moderated by Melissa Bisagni, D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival and NMAI

ADIFF/African Diaspora International Film Festival
March 18 - 21. Tickets are $10. Online. Available in US, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands (US), Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico
For its showcase for Women’s History Month, ADIFF is including three Indigenous films from its 2021 film festival. Content becomes available on March 18, 7:00 am EDT, with 3 days to start watching, and then 24 hours to finish watching

Kuessipan  Narrative. Canada. Myriam Verrault. Kuesssipan means “your turn” in the Innu language, a title chosen to mark the notion that it is the Innu people’s turn to tell their stories. The story follows two girls, best friends, in an Innu community in Quebec, one with a loving family, the other without. Their childhood promise to remain life-long friends is tested as they mature and their lives take different paths.

White Lies Narrative. Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dana Rotbert. Based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera (Whale Rider), this drama explores difficult topics. Paraiti (Whirimako Black) is the healer and midwife in her rural Maori community, but Indigenous healers are in the process of being outlawed in New Zealand. She is approached by a Maori woman, a servant to a wealthy woman, to assist her mistress, Rebecca, who has an unwanted pregnancy. This compelling story tackles moral dilemmas, exploring the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine.

Loimata: The Sweetest Tears Documentary. Samoa, New Zealand. Anna Marbrook. A redemptive tale of waka building and captain Lilo Ema Slope’s final years. Confronting intergenerational trauma, the Slop family returns to their homeland of Samoa. A poingnant story of a family’s commitment to becoming whole again.

On PBS
Starting Mon, March 21. Broadcast on PBS stations. Not yet available online
Bring Her Home Documentary. US. Leya Hale. Producer: Sergio Rapu. The film follows three Indigenous women — an artist, an activist and a politician — as they work to vindicate and honor their relatives who are victims in the growing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. As they face the lasting effects of historical trauma, each woman searches for healing while navigating the oppressive systems that brought about this very crisis. Trailer 

29th San Diego Latino Film Festival
LAST DAY March 20. Tickets. In-person in San Diego. Online in US, Puerto Rico and Baja California (MX). The screening is accessed through the website’s catalog, available to start for 24 hours and once started, available for an additional 24 hours.

Saturday, March 19, at midnight PT to Sunday, March 20 at midnight PT
Mother of All Struggles Documentary. Brazil. Susanna Lira. In Portuguese. The film connects attacks on land rights with the ongoing struggles of Indigenous and Black women in Brazil, following the paths of Shirley Krenak, an author and leader of the Krenak people in Minas Gerais, and Maria Zeizuita, one of the survivors of the Eldorado dos Carajás Massacre in Pará.

NMAI/National Museum of the American Indian
LAST DAY March 31. Streaming online
Without a Whisper: Konnon:Kwe. Documentary. US. 27 min. Katsitsionni Fox (Mohawk). The hidden history of the profound influence Haudenosaunee women had on the beginnings of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Includes a discussion with Mohawk Bear Clan Mother Louise Herne (Mohawk) and Professor Sally Roesch Wagner, who are featured in the film, and the director, Katsitsionni Fox, moderated by the director of programs at Vision Maker Media, Georgiana Lee-Ausun (Navajo).

MoMI/Museum of the Moving Image
First Look 2022

March 16 - 20. Tickets. In-person in New York. 

Sunday, March 20, 12:45 pm
A feature from Argentina and a short film from French Guiana--both concerned with the consequences of Indigenous displacement.
Husek Narrative feature. Argentina. Daniela Seggiaro. In Spanish and Wichí Lhamtés. A multi-million dollar urbanization project for the indigenous territory of Gran Chaco threatens to relocate Wichi families and disrupt their ancestral way of life. Chief Valentino and his grandson refuse to comply, which nudges architect Ana to own up to her role in their displacement. Written with Wichi author Osvaldo Villagra and incorporating documentary elements. Preceded by Listen to the Beat of Our Images Documentary short. Audrey Jean-Baptiste and Maxime Jean-Baptiste. Archival footage and a creative sound track recovers the history of colonial expropriation by France to build a space station on Indigenous lands in French Guiana in 1964.

The 2022 Maoriland Film Festival, in-person in Otaki, Aotearoa/New Zealand, has been postponed to June/July to coincide with Matariki, the Māori New Year

Upcoming Festivals with Indigenous Films

California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival, April 2 - 3. In person at Pechanga Resort Casino, Temecula, CA

Indigenous Film and Arts Festival monthly series, April 13. 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.

TALKING ABOUT

Harvard University Mahindra Humanities Center
Graduate Student Conference
“Seeding Relations: Beyond Settler Colonial and Racialized Ecologies”

March 25 - 26. On Zoom. Registration.
A conference focused on reconceiving, reconfiguring and reimagining collective lives beyond settler-colonial and racialized regimes.

Keynote Speakers

Elizabeth Solomon (Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag), Director of Administration in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Solomon also works with Native and other underrepresented communities to help form museum exhibitions and public history programs.

Mary McNeil (Mashpee Wampanoag) Invested in public-facing scholarship, her research sits at the intersections of Native American and Indigenous studies, Black studies, social history, Black and Indigenous feminisms, and geography. She is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Harvard and an Ann Plato Fellow at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Now Ongoing Online:

“Soul of a Nation: Tribal Sovereignty and the American Revolution” with Heather Bruegl (Oneida, Stockbridge-Munsee descendant) and Mark Peters, Chief of the Munsee-Delaware. How Native nations played major roles during the American Revolution in the fight both for and against American independence. Presented initially by Historic Huguenot Street, New Paltz, NY, on Zoom on March 10, 2022.

MacArthur x BGC: What is Conservation?” with Jeffrey Gibson (Mississippi Choctaw, Cherokee), Sendhil Mullainathan, Marla Spivak, Campbell McGrath. Moderated by Peter Miller. A wide ranging conversation with MacArthur Fellows on various forms and reasons for conservation and preservation, including how to look forward on behalf of items conserved. Presented initially by Bard Graduate Center, NY, NY on March 2, 2022.

CREATIVITY

Theater

Autry Museum of the American West
Short Play Festival

SOLD OUT. Trickster: Coyotes, Rabbits, and Ravens, Oh My!
March 20, 1:30 pm PDT. In-person in Los Angeles.

Many Native stories involve a Trickster, a cunning, crafty, clever, mischief-making being who often teaches humankind how to be while embodying what not to be. A Trickster is the ultimate disrupter. They can be charming, witty, funny, harsh, critical, but they have a truth to share with us if we only listen. And if we don’t listen? They will find a way whether we like it or not.

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