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Indigenous Cinema '21


Title: Uu?uu~tah
Release Date: 2019
Runtime: 11 minutes
Director: Chad Charlie (Ahousaht/Canada)
Language: Nuu-chah-nulth with English subtitles
Synopsis: In a pre-Contact era, a young chief is entrusted to be the whale hunter of his village. With this title comes a lot of responsibility. To undertake such a task, his grandmother leads him along the long hard path of his rite of purification and growth.
Director Bio: Chad Charlie is the director behind the film. He is an enrolled member of the Ahousaht First Nation in Canada, while raised in Seattle. Chad's directorial debut film Uu?uu~tah, documented entirely in his traditional language, continues to be screened in Film Festivals worldwide, and can be seen on select channels in Canada. With the support of a number of organizations like Nia Tero, Vision Maker Media, and Storyhive, Chad has become an emerging filmmaker with a whole lot of power behind his stories.

Mino Bimaadiziwin

Title: Mino Bimaadiziwin
Release Date: 2017
Runtime: 10 minutes
Director: Ishkwaazhe Shane McSauby (Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe)
Language: Anishinaabe and English
Synopsis: Jim Asiginaak, a transgender Anishinaabe man, has lost all connection to his Native culture until he has a chance meeting with a mysterious Anishinaabe woman, Bangishimogikwe.
Director Bio: Ishkwaazhe Shane McSauby was born into the turtle clan of the Anishinaabe Nation and raised in his traditional territories now known as Grand Rapids, MI. He is a citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Upon receiving his Bachelor's degree from Grand Valley State University in film production, Ishkwaazhe moved to New York City. There he wrote Mino Bimaadiziwin, his first short film to receive major funding from Sundance Institute as a part of the Indigenous Film Program. Ishkwaazhe is currently in his third year of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program.

La Lluvia Fue Testigo/Witness Was the Rain

Title: La Lluvia Fue Testigo/Witness Was the Rain
Release Date: 2018
Runtime: 27 minutes
Director: Nicolás Soto Guerra (Mapuche-Huilliche/Chile)
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Synopsis: The lush landscapes of southern Chile witnessed the life and absence of José Huenante from his childhood until his disappearance at the hands of the police in 2005. Today an image of his face fills the streets of the city of Puerto Montt with the slogan: "detainee disappeared in democracy."
Director Bio: Nicolás Soto Guerra (Puerto Montt, 1994) is a filmmaker and television producer with a degree from the Universidad de Chile. Throughout his academic career, he has held a number of positions working on cinematography and documentary film. In 2017, he started production for his documentary film La Lluvia Fue Testigo/Witness Was the Rain, a capstone project for his degree in audiovisual production, which has screened at various film festivals, both in Chile and abroad, winning him a number of awards and marking the initial phase of development for his first full-length documentary film.

Week One
April 23 to 26

The Hemispheric Institute and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution present Indigenous Cinema 2021.

Curated by Amalia Córdova

In the midst of the digital turn and the global crises brought about over the past year, Indigenous artists and activists have found new spaces for their works to be more broadly seen. Indigenous media has been growing over the past four decades, documenting community practices, but also exploring new modes of expression through a range of themes, languages and genres. As new, layered forms of understanding identity emerge, film has proven to be an adaptable medium to explore the interlacing of Indigenous experiences that are in motion, seeking wholeness despite fragmentation, and not restricted to the binaries of urban and rural, ancestral and contemporary, female and male, and more. What we are seeing today is a multiplicity of Indigenous voices and modes of storytelling, told through the moving image. We are pleased to bring a sampling of this new tide of Indigenous cinemas, alternating recent shorts and feature films, some of them made in New York, and others from across the continent.


About HemiTV

HemiTV is the Hemispheric Institute’s portal for live streaming and virtual programming, developed for the Zoom era and beyond.