Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 10, 2020



''Monkey Beach' Winner: Director Loretta Sarah Todd, lead actress Grace Dove, and author Eden Robinson (L-R) behind the scenes. (VIFF Media)


SAN FRANCISCO – The 45th annual American Indian Film Festival® continues the American Indian Film Institute’s tradition of premiering the best of movies, music videos and original entertainment by, for and about American Indian and First Nations people, Nov. 6-14, 2020. This year – with 102 films, 55 world premieres and nine days of virtual/online screenings – the American Indian Film Festival maintains its focus on cinematic content that informs, educates, uplifts and invokes the catalyst of cathartic cultural exchange.

2020 Winners

SAN FRANCISCO (November 9, 2020) – On Friday, November 6, celebrating its 45th edition with 102 films and 55 world premieres, the American Indian Film Festival (AIFF45) announced the 2020 winners online as part of its nine-day virtual presentation powered by Eventive. This year's competition included forty-two films in eleven categories from "Best Film" to "Best Animation," and winners were selected by a jury comprised of educators, filmmakers, and community members. The 45th American Indian Film Festival's virtual presentation allows American Indian / Alaska Native and First Nations filmmakers to connect with a broader audience runs November 6-14, 2020.

The American Indian Film Institute maintains its commitment to providing audiences with a genuine experience and understanding of the beautiful diversity within Indian Country as shared from an authentic place told by gifted filmmakers who tell it from their hearts -- from both sides of the lens.

Nominees for Best Film

MONKEY BEACH directed by Loretta Sarah Todd - WINNER!

PARALLEL MINDS directed by Benjamin Ross Hayden

RUTHLESS SOULS directed by Madison Thomas

Nominees for Best Director

Benjamin Ross Hayden for Parallel Minds

Loretta Sarah Todd for Monkey Beach - WINNER!

Madison Thomas for Ruthless Souls

Montana Cypress for The Transcenders 

Nominees for Best Actress

Mary Galloway as “Jackie” in Ruthless Souls

Grace Dove as “Lisa” in Monkey Beach - WINNER!

Tommie-Amber Pirie as “Margo Elson” in Parallel Minds

Nominees for Best Actor

Adam Beach as “Uncle Mick” in Monkey Beach - WINNER!

Montana Cypress as “Butch” in The Transcenders

Nominees for Best Supporting Actress

Michelle Thrush as “Elise Perrot” in Parallel Minds

Sera-Lys McArthur as “Tabitha” in Monkey Beach

Tina Marie Lameman as “Mama OO” in Monkey Beach - WINNER!

Nominees for Best Supporting Actor

Nathaniel Arcand as “Albert” in Monkey Beach - WINNER!

Joseph Adams as “Harjo” in The Transcenders

Nominees for Best Documentary Feature

Native Wisdom - The Peoples of Eastern Oregon directed by Tim Keenan Burgess and Lawrence Johnson

Sisters Rising directed by Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck - WINNER!

The Mountain That Weeps directed by Bradley Munoa

Voices from the Barrens directed by Nancy Ghertner and Brian Francis

Nominees for Best Documentary Short

Along the Winisk River directed by Janna Kyllastinen

Cottagers & Indians directed by Drew Hayden Taylor

Crow Country: Our Right to Food Sovereignty directed by Tsanavi Spoonhunter - WINNER!

Future Ancestor directed by Josue Rivas

One Word Sawalmem directed by Natasha Deganello Giraudie and Michael “Pom” Preston

Pinguat directed by Joshua Albeza Branstetter

Sokinaa’ Passkaan Aassisstoi (Healing Bells) directed by Directed by Taylor Crowspreadshiswings

Nominees for Best Live Short

Blackwater directed by Boise Esquerra

Iniskim directed by Daniel Glick - WINNER!

Ka tatishtipatakanit (Ethereal) directed by Isabelle Kanape

Starlight directed by Cole Vandale

ʔiiḥtuup (Whale) directed by Tanner Zurkoski

Nominees for Best Animated Short

Hop Along Hang On directed by Cobra Collins

Rotinonhsion:ni Ironworkers directed by Carlee Kawinehta Loft and Allan Downey - WINNER!

Sister Wolves directed by Ben-Alex Dupris

Strength of Sash directed by Christian Ryan

Nominees for Best Music Video

Adult Children Part II featuring Lindy Vision directed by Rebeca Durán

Ego of a Nation featuring Janet Rogers directed by Wes Day - WINNER!

Holy Water featuring Wakeself directed by Noor-un-nisa Touchon

Modern Native featuring Andrea Grant directed by Andrea Grant

Pathways featuring Connor Chee directed by Michael Etcitty, Jr.

Watch the American Indian Motion Picture Award Show

Festival Trailer-AIFF45 from American Indian Film Festival® on Vimeo.

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