Environmental Focus Opens Native American Film + Video Festival in New York City March 31-April 3

March 3, 2011
News Release

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The New York screening premiere of Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change by director Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) and researcher and filmmaker Ian Mauro (Seeds of Change) will open the 15th Native American Film + Video Festival. Produced by the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the festival is held at the New York City branch of the museum from Thursday, March 31, to Sunday, April 3. The festival will include some 100 films and an all-day symposium about indigenous waterways, “Mother Earth in Crisis,” Friday, April 1.

All programs are free to the public. Reservations are recommended for evening programs.

Screening Thursday, March 31, Inuit Knowledge teams the filmmakers with Inuit elders and hunters to explore the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. The film will also be simultaneously broadcast on the Internet courtesy of Isuma TV, an independent network of Native and Inuit media, at www.isuma.tv. Mauro will attend the screening and Kunuk will be available live on Skype. Both filmmakers will answer questions from audiences worldwide via Twitter. 

Friday’s symposium, “Mother Earth in Crisis,” features four award-winning filmmakers who have explored concerns from Native communities about the fate of Earth and its waterways. The day will also include a panel discussion about river and waterway conservation.

The festival also explores different aspects of Native American film, including women’s stories, media collectives, youth in media, short fictions and feature films. Updates and additional information on the festival are available at www.nativenetworks.si.edu.

Other featured works in the festival include a contemporary story based on a traditional tale, Kissed by Lightning by Shelley Niro (Mohawk); a story about four young Native people traveling to the city for their education, La Pequeña Semilla en el Asfalto/The Little Seed in the Asphalt by Pedro Daniel López (Tzotzil); and the world premiere of Apache 8, a documentary by Sande Zeig about the first all-female wildland firefighting crew, composed entirely of White Mountain Apache women.

Major funding for this year’s festival has been given by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and by the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian’s Latino Center. Additional support has been given by the Ford Foundation, the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Productions and the Oneida Indian Nation/Four Directions Productions.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center, is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays until 8 p.m. Call (212) 514-3700 for general information and (212) 514-3888 for a recording about the museum’s public programs. By subway, the museum may be reached by the 1 to South Ferry, the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green or the R to Whitehall Street. The museum’s website is www.americanindian.si.edu.

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