For thousands of years, Indigenous persons have inhabited North America, before there were borders between the United States and Canada. There are shared histories, reserves, treaties, boarding schools, assimilation, and current issues that they face in the modern world, no matter where they live in the continent. Battling social welfare issues, impoverished urban conditions, homelessness, mineral exploration and exploitation, media apathy, missing and exploited women, and more, the Native people continue to face an unprecedented number of challenges. It is the relationship between tribes in the United States and Canada that thrives. Native Americans continue to look forward despite the barriers they face, embracing medicine, language, the fortitude to be a distinct nation within a nation, and of course, our history and culture. That is what the American Indian Film Festival celebrates every year. We celebrate the challenges our people have overcome, and the unity we feel as a people. And we will continue to do this at the 42nd annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco from November 3-11, 2017.
The public is invited to enjoy film screenings, appearances by filmmakers, actors and directors, Q&A sessions, and memorable entertainment during the 9-day event, capped by the American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show.
“AIFI is proud to launch its 42nd annual American Indian Film Festival. This assembly of new film works of the USA American Indian and Canada First Nations is presented to foster public truth and understanding to the social and economic culture and ways of life of contemporary Indian peoples. Despite a history of genocide and exploitation of our nation’s people and land base, we have persevered... We have maintained and rebuilt our nation’s infrastructure, spirit, culture and language. This is our truth, and we look forward to sharing it with our audiences in the coming days,” said AIFI founder and president, Michael Smith (Sioux). “Film is an important tool that we can use to educate and entertain our audiences, and this is the best of Native cinema in the world.”
The festival will be held at the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco (2781 24th Street). The full program can be found online. Tickets can also be purchased on the website, with an intricate look at the captivating and emotional films that will be featured. The awards ceremony will be held on the evening of November 11th.
The festival kicks off on November 4 with the film The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, which connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. A rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action. The show begins at 7 p.m.
Other notable moments of AIFF 42 include: Dynamic Women’s Series on Sunday November 5th from 12-10 p.m., featuring six powerful documentaries displaying the Native American women’s fight for justice.
November 7: Bainbridge’s documentary feature, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a 103-minute feature film, which dives into Native American influences on music history.
November 9: Wind River, Taylor Sheridan’s 111-minute feature, the film follows a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who teams up with a local game tracker with deep community ties and a haunted past (Jeremy Renner) to investigate the murder of a local girl on a remote Native American reservation in the hopes of solving her mysterious death. The film also stars Gil Birmingham, Graham Greene, Jon Bernthal, Julia Jones, and Kelsey Asbille.
November 10: Directed by Jeremy Torrie and starring Adam Beach, Emma Tremblay, and Roseanne Supernault, the film Juliana & The Medicine Fish tells the story of 12-year old Juliana. The 110-minute feature film looks into a complicated relationship between a father and a daughter, and the power of believing in oneself.
The festival’s formidable artwork was done by Crow Indian artist Del Curfman. The poster “Standing for Justice” is an inspiring piece of art, and perfectly encapsulates the meaning of the festival.
The 42nd annual American Indian Film Festival® is sponsored by: San Francisco Grants for the Arts, The Hewlett Foundation, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Chickasaw Nation, Twin Pine Casino & Hotel, The George Lucas Family Foundation, and CBS.
The American Indian Film Festival® is open to the general public-at-large; and invites all communities to celebrate November American Indian Heritage Month.
Advance tickets for the film festival and awards show are available through aifisf.com