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2018-02-07 / Arts

Sundance Film Festival features 8 Indian made films

By Jaclyn Lanae
Native Sun News Today
Correspondent


A film still from Smoke Signals A film still from Smoke Signals PARK CITY, UT — For ten days ending January 28th 2018, thousands of film makers, lovers, producers, critics, actors, and spectators have been immersed in the art, politics, science, and passion of cinematic film making at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. This year, 8 Indigenous Made Films were among the featured works.

Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the mission of the Sundance Institute is, according to the website, “…dedicated to the discovery and development of independent artists and audiences. Through its programs, the Institute seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work.”

Over the past 37 years, the Institute has remained committed to the Indian roots established when Taos Pueblo native Larry LittleBird joined the founding members of the Sundance Institute in 1981. Many indigenous voices have been heard, many Native American artists’ visions have been brought to life because of the support of programs offered by the Sundance Institute. Fellowships, grants, labs and other resources make it possible for many Indigenous Film Makers in all stages of their work to both complete their projects and bring them to the public.


A film still from Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock by Cody Lucich A film still from Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock by Cody Lucich “We believe that a story driven by an individual, authentic voice can awaken new ideas that have the power to delight and entertain, push creative boundaries, spark new levels of empathy and understanding, and even lead to social change. We support independent storytellers and advance the impact of their work in the world,” states the Institute’s Vision statement. This passion is evident throughout the projects supported by Sundance and its associated programs. Too, it speaks to the essence of storytelling itself; sharing perspectives and ideas, and perhaps the possibility of deeper human connection.


A film still from Genesis 2.0 by Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev (photo courtesy of Sundance Institute) 
Photos courtesy Sundance Institute A film still from Genesis 2.0 by Christian Frei and Maxim Arbugaev (photo courtesy of Sundance Institute) Photos courtesy Sundance Institute According to sundance.org, more than 300 Native and Indigenous filmmakers have been supported through their programs, and the 2018 Festival included 8 Indigenous-Made films, including Genesis 2.0, winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography and We The Animals, awarded the title of NEXT Innovator Award. Sundance 2018 also featured the premier of the documentary Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, and featured a 20th anniversary screening of the cult classic Smoke Signals.

Celebrating and supporting voices from all corners of the globe is at the center of the Sundance Institute’s work, and their Nativefocused programs work to both educate emerging filmmakers and advance their work; supporting production and bringing their films back to their native lands. “At its core,” the Institute states the [Native American and Indigenous Film Program] seeks to inspire self-determination among Native filmmakers and communities by centering Native people in telling their own stories.”

To view the entries, review guidelines for submission, apply for programs, and more, visit www.Sundance.org.

(Contact Jaclyn Lanae at AuthorJaclynLanae@gmail.com)

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