All-Female Film Fest kicks off Native American Heritage Month at Pechanga Resort

Through Black Spruce making its U.S. debut at the CAIIFF Courtesy photo

ICT editorial team

Festival will include premiered film screenings, a message from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and a screening of Wassaja

This November, Native and Indigenous women’s voices through stories, films and art will come into focus at the California American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival, a three-day event that takes place November 1-3, the start of Native American Heritage Month. The festival features a powerful lineup of full-length films, shorts and documentaries that have all been directed and produced by Native American and Indigenous women and star female Native American and Indigenous actors.

Audience members are asked to wear red to the Thursday night screening of “Warrior Women” preceded by

U.S. and world premieres of short films addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). This year’s festival highlights the power of women’s voices to not only tell their stories but to raise awareness of critical issues in the United States and in Canada. An awards program will take place on Saturday night.

Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas will be sending in a special message to introduce his unreleased new music video “One World” filmed on the Pechanga Indian reservation in December following his successful performance at last year’s film festival with his group Mag 7.

Members of Mag 7 will be at this year’s festival working with tribal youth. CAIIFF is excited to showcase several student films from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) including The Blanket, Exhaust and Legacy. CAIIFF is supported by the Pechanga Development Corporation. This year, NBC Universal Talent Development and Inclusion has signed on as a sponsor. NBC Universal will hold a special session for filmmakers and attendees on Friday at 2pm.

Thursday night will also feature a special presentation of the weekly FNX TV series WASSAJA, hosted by Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today, showcasing the episode SHE REPRESENTS highlighting some of the more than 50 native women running for public office in the U.S.

“This year’s festival comes at a time when women in Hollywood and beyond are demanding their voices to be heard. CAIIFF is excited to help elevate women’s voices in showcasing their stories through art. It’s our honor to feature the talents of these Native female artists,” said Dr. Joely Proudfit, CAIIFF Director.

This year’s all-female lineup at the California American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival features the U.S. premiere of the feature film “Through Black Spruce,” which tells the story of a young Cree woman whose disappearance triggers events in two worlds: in Moosonee, the remote Northern Ontario community she fled years ago, and Toronto, where she modelled before vanishing.

Other screenings include:

· Thursday: Warrior Women (Southern California premiere): $10

· Friday: Kayak to Klemtu (California premiere): $10

· Saturday youth program: FREE

· Saturday closing night screening: Through Black Spruce: $10

· Awards presentation

· VIP invite only reception

The artwork for this year’s festival was commissioned by Wakeah Jhane, a self-taught ledger artist from the Penatuka (honey eater) and Yaparucah (root eater) bands of Comanche and is also Blackfeet and Kiowa.

The event also includes youth activities and Q&A sessions. Taking place at Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif., tickets are $10 per day. Tickets may be purchased by visiting or by calling (877) 711-2946.

About Pechanga Resort Casino

Pechanga Resort & Casino offers one of the largest and most expansive resort/casino experiences anywhere in the United States. Voted the number one casino in the country by USA TODAY and rated a Four Diamond property by AAA since 2002, Pechanga Resort & Casino provides an unparalleled getaway. Offering more than 4,500 of the hottest slots, table games, world-class entertainment, 1,090 hotel rooms, dining, spa and championship golf at Journey at Pechanga, Pechanga Resort & Casino features a destination that meets and exceeds the needs of its guests and the community. Pechanga Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

For more information, call toll free 1-888-PECHANGA or visit

Follow Pechanga Resort & Casino on Facebook and on Twitter @PechangaCasino.

Pechanga Resort & Casino is open 24-hours. Guests must be 21 and older to enter the casino.

About California American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival

California's American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival (CAIIFF) provides California moviegoers with a unique opportunity to encounter American Indians in uplifting and empowering film narratives about what it means to be Indian in the 21st century. CAIIFF highlights American Indian storytelling traditions which are the sinew connecting our community, our identity, our history, our present, and our future. CAIIFF is coordinated by the California Indian Culture & Sovereignty Center (CICSC) in partnership with many tribal and community and campus sponsors. The CICSC fosters collaborative research and community service relationships between the faculty, staff, and students of CSU San Marcos and members of Tribal communities, for the purpose of developing and conducting research projects that support the maintenance of sovereignty and culture within those communities.

For more information, visit and

Follow CAIIFF on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow CICSC on Facebook and Instagram.


Press Pool