After months of hyped up promotion summertime is usually when movie fans eagerly await the release of blockbusters. This summer COVID-19 is keeping most of the movie theaters closed. Still, there is a way to watch some films, both new releases and old favorites and Vision Maker Media is hosting its first on-line Indigenous film festival. For five weeks this summer you can watch movies made by American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous filmmakers. Rebekka Schlichting, interim executive director for VMM, gives us some highlights of the film festival.
"Our theme is community and it's lowercase com uppercase UNITY. And so our idea with this year's film festival is really to bring everybody together through this festival.
"We recently made the decision to take our festival online this year and it will be August 31st to October 5th online, and all of the films are free. And so VisionMakerMedia.org is our website. And you can go there and there's a film festival tab and you can register now for updates about the films."
"(Attla)" that's a sled dog racer, from Alaska. And he was pretty big back in the day and it follows his grandson's journey and sort of trying to fulfill his legacy. And so he goes through the training as a sled dog racer. And he's trained by his grandfather George Attla, who's this great famous guy up there."
"So there's history, activism, women empowerment. So this (Blackfeet Boxing) is one of our women empowerment films, and it really focuses on teaching those little girls how to be boxers, how to defend themselves and feel empowered themselves."
"It's a really great activism film. We wanted to do something old school and bring it back because we've done that in the past with films. And so we decided to go with Clearcut because it's always going to be relevant today. The land issues, research, natural resource issues, on our reservations, it's always an issue."
"You would never guess there's this Island in the middle of nowhere where Indigenous people still sort of rule their land and it's a beautiful film but because of Christianity, the trans community (is treated) as kind of outsiders. And so it (Leitis in Waiting) follows that community and their struggle with trying to empower themselves. And, they have a drag show and everything, and it's, it's a beautiful really heartwarming film too."
"We've reviewed over a hundred films and so far I've narrowed it down to around 30, but that number is increasing steadily."
"That one (LN3) is also very timely with the Black Lives Matter, happening or Indigenous Lives Matter and police brutality and missing and murdered as well. It kind of ties all those together and it's empowering to see this family come together on behalf of their family member to make change.
Also in the newscast, Jourdan Bennett-Begaye has the latest numbers of positive COVID-19 tests in Indian Country.
The anchor and executive producer of the newscast is Patty Talahongva.