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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

American Indian Film Festival San Francisco Nov 4-12, 2011

On the Ice

Censored News

SAN FRANCISCO -- The American Indian Film Institute announces the 36th annual American Indian Film Festival, November 4-12, 2011. The American Indian Film Festival will premiere over 70 innovative feature films, shorts, public service, music videos and documentaries of USA American Indian and Canada First Nation communities. Founded in 1975, AIFF has established itself as the premiere Native film festival in North America. This year’s selection continues to celebrate the Festival’s tradition for excellence and diversity with powerful performances and new cinematic expression by cutting-edge media makers.

Prominent Sponsors of the 2011 American Indian Film Festival include; Ak-Chin Indian Community in Arizona; Tule River Tribe, Calif.; Jackson Rancheria, Calif.; Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Washington; Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, Calif.; Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Nation, Calif.; CBS Television, New York; and San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Calif.

Public screenings and events will be held for nine days, from Nov. 4-9 at the Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level; and conclude Nov. 10-12 at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St.@ Bay Street.

Opening the Festival on Nov. 4, is the feature film Every Emotion Costs dir. Darlene Naponse (90min) - starring Michelle St. John, Tantoo Cardinal, Nathaniel Arcand and Roseanne Supernault. Darlene Naponse’s second feature film explores the struggles of returning home and the challenges of facing long-buried family demons. Preceded by documentary feature Oturan Boganin Izinde (On the Trail of Sitting Bull) dir. Ece Soydam (70min), focuses on the present day Lakota. Also included will be claymation short, Neil Discovers the Moon (1min) dir. by Steven Paul Judd.

Concluding the film portion of the Festival on Nov. 11, is feature film On the Ice (96min) dir. by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean – the first feature-length fiction film made in Alaska by an Iñupiaq writer/director with an entirely Inuit cast. A suspenseful feature-length drama that follows two teenage boys on the snow-covered Arctic tundra, who are trapped by a dark and tragic secret. Director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean and producer Cara Marcous in attendance. Preceding will be five music videos from established Native artists which include I Let You Go dir. Mike Venezia (4min), Sometimes dir. Gobi M. Rahimi (3min), Stoned for Days dir. James Kinistino (4min), Who’s Gonna Save You dir. Robby Romero (10min), and The Storm dir. Steven Paul Judd (5min). The Miracle Dolls, Derek Miller, The Native, Robby Romero, and The Battiest Brothers in attendance.

Other Noteworthy Film Selections:

Nov. 5 @ 7pm: The Thick Dark Fog (60min) dir.Randy Vasquez, World Premiere – Documents the emotional journey of Walter Littlemoon, a 69 year-old Lakota man, who begins to heal himself, his community and his heritage after painful experiences at a Federal government boarding school. Director Randy Vasquez, producer Jonathan Skurnik and Walter Littlemoon in attendance.

Off the Rez (86min) dir. Jonathan Hock. A coming-of-age story that follows Shoni Schimmel, a Umatilla Indian, who is a rising basketball star that dreams of being the first from her tribe to get a college scholarship. Director Jonathan Hock in attendance.

Nov. 6 @ 7pm: Holy Man: The USA vs. Douglas White (85min) dir. Jennifer Jessum – The story of Douglas White, an 88 year-old Lakota Sioux medicine man from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation who spent 17 years in federal prison for a crime he did not commit. Narrated by Martin Sheen. Sky Dancer (75min) dir. Katja Esson – feature-length documentary about the unique challenges and gifts of being Mohawk today, and the special stresses of working on the high steel in New York City.

Up Heartbreak Hill, Navajo, New Mexico 
Nov. 7: Young-At-Heart Program@12noon: AIFI presents a collection of films aimed at teens featuring animation, live action and the documentary feature Up Heartbreak Hill (88 min) dir. Erica Scharf -- Chronicles the lives of Thomas, Tamara and Gabby—three Native American teenagers in Navajo, New Mexico—as they navigate their senior year at a high school. Ohkwarikowa (4min) dir. Rarihwenhawi LaFrance – Ohkwarikowa, or the Great Bear, is an animated short based upon a traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) legend. Run Red Walk: A Navajo Sheepdog (17min) dir. Melissa Henry – A red sheepdog’s search for his lost sheep takes him across the hills and hollows of the rez. Along the way, he meets some unexpected characters.

Nov. 7 @ 7pm Smokin’Fish (80min) dir. Luke Griswold-Tergis – tells the story of one man’s attempts to navigate the messy zone of collision between the modern world and an ancient culture. Wild Horses and; Renegades (79min) dir. James Anaquad-Kleinert – Examines the politics behind the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) controversial policies on public lands and questions the fate of America's wild horses and burros, whose very existence is in jeopardy.

Nov. 8 @ 7pm Music is the Medicine (52min) dir. Lindsey Rusheleau – follows the journey of blues-rocker Derek Miller, as he sets out to release his next album with high hopes of achieving mainstream success. White Indians Walking (81min) dir. Andrew Genaille, U.S. Premiere – After twenty years, a mother returns home with her daughter after being ejected from her reserve, to find out why. This starts a day of remembering the past, discussion of the present and hope for the future.

Nov. 9 @ 7pm Special Spotlight Presentation of Making the River (82min) dir. Sarah Del Seronde – story of Jimi Simmons quest for freedom after him and his brother were wrongly accused of killing a prison guard. Yellow Rock (90min) dir. Nick Vallelonga – A gritty full-length Western that embarks on a group of six cowboys who must fight the elements, their greed, and uncover a grisly truth.

Nov. 10 Shouting Secrets (88min) dir. Korinna Sehringer, World Premiere – The universal story about a Native American family coming back together under the chaotic event of a parent's sudden illness. Starring Chaske Spencer, Q'orianka Kilcher, Tyler Christopher, Tonantzin Carmelo, Tantoo Cardinal, Gil Birmingham, and Rodney A. Grant. Director Korinna Sehringer, producer Ueli J. Bollag, actress Tonantzin Carmelo, and actor Tyler Christopher in attendance. Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco (10min) dir. Steven Paul Judd – A whimsical story of a Choctaw grandfather who regales his grandson with a magical story of flying cars, talking rabbits and a man named Three Shades of Black who’s on a quest to find the world’s best Indian taco.

AIFI Special Events:

Nov. 4, 12:30-3  pm @ San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium – FREE EVENT

AIFI Media Forum: North American Indian Boarding School Experiences – Discussions about experiences in boarding schools, the ongoing impact of intergenerational complex post traumatic stress and cultural genocide. Panel Members: Walter Littlemoon, Jane Ridgway, Randy Vasquez, Janeen Antoine, Olivia Bearchild, Jonathan Skurnik and Others. Hosted by AIFI and Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT).

Nov.11, 10:00am -- 2:00 pm– AIFI TRIBAL TOURING PROGRAM @ Bay Theatre, Pier 39 FREE EVENT– Indian Youth screenings from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Calif.; Nisqually Indian Tribe, Washington; Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Washington; and Lummi Nation, Washington.

“The film festival and awards show are the cornerstone of what we do — provide an opportunity and national venue for emerging and established filmmakers, entertainers and performing artists to convene, renew their artistic spirit and share their gifts." - Founder/ Director Michael Smith.

Nov. 12 – American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show

AIFI’s American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show, honoring filmmakers and showcasing contemporary Native American talent, will be held on Saturday November 12, 2011 @ the Palace of Fine Arts beginning at 6:00pm. Award Show guest hosts include actors: Michelle Thrush, Evan Adams, Tonantzin Carmelo and Michael Spears. Fourteen awards will be presented including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Documentary. The awards show will include an array of live entertainment by established and emerging Native artists and performers. The line-up includes: Blues singer/songwriter Derek Miller, Punk/Indie band Miracle Dolls, Hip Hop/ R and ;B duo The Battiest Brothers, comedian JR Redwater, and violinist Swil Kanim.

A complete schedule is available on our website All programs are open to the general public and will require tickets for admission. Advance Tickets available thru AIFI: 415-554-0525 Visa and  Mastercard. On-site tickets available at the following theater venues (on day of show.)

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