Native American Cinema Showcase
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the 18th annual Native Cinema Showcase, the museum’s premier film event, during the week of Aug. 14–19 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The showcase runs in conjunction with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest juried show of Native fine art in the world. Held at the New Mexico History Museum, the showcase will screen more than 50 feature-length and short films representing nine countries and more than 33 Native Nations. The 2018 selections feature themes of justice as it applies to many different facets of Native life and community. Among the many topics, the films explore criminal justice, tribal law and government, the environment and LGBTQ rights. More than half of the showcase’s selections are films by women filmmakers. Admission to the showcase’s events is free.
“It’s no coincidence so many Native filmmakers are using their creative talents to make films that deal with subjects like criminal and societal justice,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find ourselves at a moment in contemporary life where outdated notions and ways of doing things are being challenged and reexamined. Many of the films we’ve selected amplify these complex stories.”
The museum screens films throughout each day of the showcase, with feature screenings each night. The showcase opens Tuesday, Aug. 14, with Dawnland, a film that centers on decades of repercussions of child-welfare practices that have removed Native children from their homes. The features continue on Wednesday with Waru, a collection of eight vignettes each by a different female Māori director, and Thursday with Moroni for President, which follows Moroni Benally, a young, gay Mormon in a bid to become president of the Navajo Nation. The weekend features begin Friday with Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier, a media-sensationalized story of a troubled young Manitoba First Nation woman and a catfishing case involving an NBA superstar and an aspiring model. The showcase closes out Sunday with Out of State, a film where two Native Hawaiians discover their Indigenous traditions while serving prison sentences in Arizona.
All of the museum’s Saturday, Aug. 18, screenings are family friendly, and the day includes a special outdoor screening of Disney’s Coco at the Santa Fe Railyard. See full schedule of screenings below.
The museum will also host its annual “State of the Art” conversation Friday, Aug. 17, at 3 p.m. This year the National Museum of the American Indian invites participants to hear insights from director Gover and other leading museum directors in a discussion about changing the narrative to facilitate a better understanding of Native American art within the contexts of broader American and global art history and criticism. David Penney, National Museum of the American Indian associate director of museum research and scholarship, will moderate the event.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
- 7 p.m.: Dawnland (2018, 86 min.) Discussion follows with Esther Anne (Passamaquoddy), co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, and Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole).
Wednesday, Aug. 15
- 1 p.m.: More Than a Word (2017, 70 min.) Museum director Kevin Gover will offer remarks.
- 3 p.m.: Tribal Justice (2017, 90 min.)
- 7 p.m.: Waru (2017, 86 min.) The film is shown in English and Māori with English subtitles.
Thursday, Aug. 16
- 1 p.m.: Family Dynamics Shorts Program (76 min. total) These short films focus on the unique complexities of what it means to be family.
- 3 p.m.: Reclamation Shorts Program (78 min. total) These short films are about reclaiming and preserving cultural identity.
- 7 p.m.: Moroni for President (2018, 78 min.) Discussion follows with Moroni Benally (Navajo).
Friday, Aug. 17
- 1 p.m.: Future Focused Shorts Program (56 min. total) This program of family-friendly short films is fun for kids of all ages.
- 3 p.m.: “State of the Art” conversation Panelists include Kevin Gover, director, National Museum of the American Indian; David M. Roche, director and CEO, Heard Museum; John Vanausdall, president and CEO, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art; and W. Richard West, Jr., president and CEO, Autry Museum of the American West.
- 7 p.m.: Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier (2017, 44 min) Discussion follows with directors Shane Belcourt (Métis) and Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe).
Saturday, Aug. 18
- 1 p.m.: Future Voices of New Mexico (90 min. total) This program examines the Future Voices of New Mexico filmmaking project and is introduced by Marcella Ernest (Bad River Band of Ojibwe), project director.
- 3 p.m.: Kayak to Klemtu (2017, 90 min.)
- 8 p.m.: Coco (2017, 105 min.) Screened outdoors at the Santa Fe Railyard Park Screen.
Sunday, Aug. 19
- 1 p.m.: Rise Above Shorts Program (87 min.) These shorts focus on rising above adversity and learning life’s lessons.
- 3 p.m.: Out of State (2017, 79 min.) All screenings and post-discussions are subject to change.
Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.