Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Films Showcased by Indian Youths on Indian Lands

Autry National Center
4700 Western Heritage Way , Los Angeles , CA 90027
Photo: Shi-shi-Etko

The Autry National Center partners with the American Indian Film Institute to showcase films created by Indian Youths on Indian Land

Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11, 2010

Box Office opens at 7:00 p.m. / Screenings start at 7:30 p.m.

Free Admission

LOS ANGELES (August 31, 2010)—Join us for a celebration of the latest in Native American film as Michael Smith (Sioux), Founder and President of the San Francisco–based American Indian Film Institute (AIFI), hosts an exciting two-night festival of U.S.- and world-premiere shorts and feature films from Native America.

“AIFI wishes to acknowledge the Autry National Center for this opportunity to bring films from our festival to the people of Los Angeles. We would like to commend the Autry National Center for their support and outreach of Native American art, culture, and media,” said Michael Smith, AIFI President.

AIFI’s Tribal Touring Program (TTP), co-presented by Tribal Host Partners, brings to reservations and other rural communities a weeklong digital training workshop for Indian youths (ages 14–22). This year, TTP traveled to the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in California, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe in Washington State.

Friday – Premiere Night features the first screening of five short films from AIFI’s 2010 Summer Tribal Touring Program* and the feature-length film, Of Mice and Men, a Native adaptation of the classic John Steinbeck novel.

Saturday – Award Winners features two outstanding short films and Barking Water, the popular “Best Film” winner at the 2009 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Friday, September 10, 2010, 7:30 p.m. – Premiere Night

Short Films – Premiere screenings of AIFI’s Tribal Touring Program

Admirational – Yakima Nation, 10 Minutes

Emily – Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, 9 Minutes

Selai Saltu – Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, 6 Minutes

Spirit Tree – Nisqually Indian Tribe, 7 Minutes

Return of Nisqually Delta – Nisqually Indian Tribe, 5 Minutes

Feature Film

Of Mice and Men

Director: Kyle Hudlin-Whelan

74 Minutes Canada Feature

In this adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel, the main action of the story takes place today in a rooming house in Winnipeg, instead of on a farm in California. George and Lennie are not migrant farm workers; rather, they are displaced Aboriginal teenagers who have left the desolation of their remote Northern community to drift across Southern Manitoba, looking for work. As their destiny unfolds tragically, they keep dreaming, not of their own farm, but of their own place North in the bush, where they can live off the land by trapping, hunting, and fishing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010 – Award Winners

Short Films


Director: Kate Kroll

12 Minutes Canada Live Short

Shi-shi-etko follows a six-year-old Native girl in her last four days before she is taken to residential school. She spends each day with a different family member, each of whom reminds her of the importance of remembering who she is. Shi-shi-etko was filmed in traditional Sto:lo territory and in the Sto:lo language of Halq’emeylem (with English subtitles). The producer and director, along with the primarily Sto:lo cast, had the daunting task of bringing to life the authenticity of the Sto:lo culture and language by working with language instructors and the community. With the support of the Sto:lo Nation, the film will now be a part of language kits and used as a teaching aid in elementary schools to increase knowledge about the residential school tragedy of Canada.

Pipestone: An Unbroken Legacy

Director: Chris Wheeler

20 Minutes USA Documentary Short

2009 AIFF Winner, Best Documentary Short

Pipestone was produced for Pipestone National Monument, a National Park Service site dedicated to preserving the sacred pipestone quarries in southwestern Minnesota. Narrated through the words of Native American elders, Pipestone is a powerful and poignant testimony of what the quarries mean to Native peoples, past and present. Represented in the film are many prominent Native Americans, including Wilmer Mesteth, a spiritual leader of the Oglala Lakotas, Faith Spotted Eagle of the Yankton Tribe, and Albert White Hat, a respected elder and teacher from the Rosebud Reservation. Their passion for the pipestone quarries is inspirational.

Feature Film

Barking Water

Director: Sterlin Harjo

81 Minutes USA Feature

2009 AIFF Winner, Best Film

2009 AIFF Award for Best Actress — Casey Camp-Horinek

Before Oklahoma was a Red State, it was known as the “Land of the Red People,” as described by the Choctaw phrase “Okla Humma.” In his sophomore film, Sterlin Harjo takes viewers on a road trip through his own personal Oklahoma, which includes an eclectic mix of humanity.

This feature focuses on Frankie (Richard Ray Whitman) and Irene (Casey Camp-Horinek), who have a difficult past but come together for Frankie’s final, dying wish; he needs to get out of the hospital and go home to his daughter and new grandbaby to make amends. Irene had been his one true on-again-off-again love until they parted ways for good. To make up for the past, Irene agrees to help Frankie in his trying time.

With steady and graceful performances, this story takes viewers for a ride in the backseat of Frankie and Irene’s Indian car while the pair listens to their past and a rhythmic soundtrack, which sets the beat and tone for a redemptive road journey.

Harjo wraps us in the charm and love of Oklahoma through the people and places Irene and Frankie visit along the way. In this sparingly sentimental and achingly poignant film, Harjo claims his place as one of the most truthful and honest voices working in American cinema today.

Barking Water is an expression of gratitude for the ability to have lived and loved.

American Indian Film Institute


The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) is a nonprofit media arts center founded in 1979 to foster understanding of the culture, traditions, and issues of contemporary Native Americans. American Indians have had an uneasy relationship with the media industry since the origins of film over 100 years ago. The quintessential 20th-century art form has created and perpetuated enduring stereotypes that are at best tedious, and at worst profoundly erosive to the self-image of generations of Native Americans. Yet the ability of this art form to weaken and erode is matched by its power to heal and strengthen. In film we find a tool to preserve and record our heritage, and a vehicle for Indians and non-Indians alike to “unlearn” damaging stereotypes and replace them with multidimensional images that reflect the complexity of Native peoples.
Our organization’s roots stretch back to 1975 when the first American Indian Film Festival was presented in Seattle. In 1977, the festival was relocated to San Francisco, where it found its permanent home. The American Indian Film Institute was incorporated in 1979, with the late actor Will Sampson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) among its founding members. Today, AIFI is the major Native American media and cultural arts presenter in California, and its festival is the world’s oldest and most recognized international film exposition dedicated to Native American cinematic accomplishment.

The goals of AIFI are inherently educational: to encourage Native/non-Native filmmakers to bring to the broader media culture the Native voices, viewpoints, and stories that have been historically excluded from mainstream media; to develop Indian and non-Indian audiences for this work; and to advocate tirelessly for authentic representations of Indians in the media.

About the Autry National Center
The Autry National Center is an intercultural history center dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. Located in Griffith Park, the Autry includes the collections of the Museum of the American West, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and the Autry Institute’s two research libraries: the Braun Research Library and the Autry Library. Exhibitions, public programs, K–12 educational services, and publications are designed to examine critical issues of society, offering insights into solutions and the contemporary human condition through the Western historical experience.

Weekday hours of operation for the Autry National Center’s museum at its Griffith Park location are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Autry Store’s weekday hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Golden Spur Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours for the museum and the Autry Store are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum, the Autry Store, and the cafe are closed on Mondays. The libraries are open to researchers by appointment.

Museum admission is $9 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 60+, $3 for children 3–12, and free for Autry members, veterans, and children 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.

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