Online Native Cinema Showcase Brings Indigenous Films to Audiences Worldwide

Curated Selection of More Than 35 Films From Across the Western Hemisphere and the Arctic Offer Enjoyment for the Entire Family
November 18, 2022
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Native Cinema Showcase

Native Cinema Showcase; Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase returns to an online format Nov. 18–25 for American Indian Heritage Month. An annual celebration of the best in Indigenous film, the selections show how filmmakers are embracing their communities’ oral histories, knowledge and ancestral lands to seek guidance from the past and envision new paths for the future. This year, the films are available for view worldwide, without geographic restriction. The full schedule is available online. All films are free to watch and available on demand from Nov. 18, 12:01 a.m. ET, to Nov. 25, 11:59 p.m. ET. Two of the feature films, Bootlegger and Imagining the Indian, require registration.

The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with filmmakers from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. The online program includes a total of 36 films (six features and 30 shorts) representing 30 Native nations in eight different countries: U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia and Sweden. There are 10 Indigenous languages spoken in the films. Genres include documentaries, music videos, kid-friendly shorts, films in Indigenous languages and more. 

Special support for Native Cinema Showcase is provided by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, The Walt Disney Company, the Consulate General of Canada in New York, The Council for Canadian American Relations and Canada Now.

Feature films

Bootlegger (Canada, 2021, 81 min.)
Director: Caroline Monnet (Anishinaabe/French)
Registration is required and is limited to 800 viewers.

For Mature Audiences: Contains coarse language and brief nudity.

Daughter of a Lost Bird (USA, 2021, 66 min.)
Director: Brooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish)
Feature is preceded by SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of My Mother) and Nahasdzáán (Earth).

Imagining the Indian (USA, 2022, 95 min.)
Registration is required and is limited to 1000 viewers.
Directors/producers: Aviva Kempner, Ben West (Cheyenne)
Special support for Imagining the Indian is provided by The Ciesla Foundation.

Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy (Canada, 2021, 125 min.)
Director: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot/Sámi)

Portraits from a Fire (Canada, 2021, 92 min.)
Director: Trevor Mack (Tsilhqot'in)

Warrior Spirit (USA, 2021, 96 min.)
Director: Landon Dyksterhouse
For Mature Audiences: Contains triggering scenes of rapid weight loss.

Shorts program

Emergence Shorts Program (Program running time: 86 min.)
Stories of how the past can help people navigate an uncertain future.

Future-Focused Shorts Program (Program running time: 67 min.)
Family-friendly short films that are fun for kids of all ages.

Rise Above Shorts Program (Program running time: 94 min.)
These shorts focus on the realities of rising above adversity and learning life’s lessons.    

Twisted Tales Shorts Program (Program running time: 57 min.)
Shorts that invite viewers into spooky, creepy and unfamiliar tales from an Indigenous perspective.

In-person screening in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m., the museum in Washington, D.C., will host an in-person screening of Imagining the Indian (USA, 2022, 95 min.), a comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate demeaning and offensive words, images and gestures in the world of sports. The film takes a deep dive into the issues through archival footage and interviews with those involved in the fight. The psychological research is clear: the use of Native American mascots is detrimental not only to Native people, but also to marginalized groups everywhere. Directors/producers: Aviva Kempner, Ben West (Cheyenne)

A conversation with Suzan Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee), Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee and Native rights advocate; Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo/Hopi/Tewa/Navajo), director of the National Museum of the American Indian; and W. Richard West Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, will follow the screening.

About the Museum

In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum strives toward equity and social justice for the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere through education, inspiration and empowerment. Through two locations, it features exhibitions and programs in New York City and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit Follow the museum via social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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