Native American Cinema Showcase
From pre-contact to postmodern, adult content to kid-friendly, the 15th annual Native American Cinema Showcase, running from Monday, Aug. 17, to Sunday, Aug. 23, offers a week of indigenous films, documentaries, and animated shorts. The showcase kicks off on Monday at 7 p.m. with
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, an action epic from the Canadian Arctic, set in the ancient past and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language. The 2001 film is already considered a classic in Canada among both audiences and critics.
New Mexico is well-represented by Diné filmmaker Blackhorse Lowe, who grew up outside of Nenahnezad, near Shiprock. On Thursday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m., the director is on hand for the showing of his short,
Shimásání (2008), a black-and-white historical piece based on his grandmother’s stories of coming of age on the Navajo reservation in the 1930s. On Friday, Aug. 21, at 8 p.m., he returns with the cast of Chasing The Light, a gritty, dark 2014 comedy that follows a depressed Navajo writer as he navigates drug deals, suicide attempts and an unstable ex in Albuquerque. It’s Lowe’s first full-length feature since his debut 5th World turned heads at Sundance in 2005.
At 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 21, a delightful showcase of 3-D, stop-motion, claymation and traditional animated shorts from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada should appeal to both kids and adults. That same day at 5 p.m., a symposium “New Audiences for Native Films” features prominent Native directors, producers, and film promoters who discuss how shifting audience tastes are putting pressure on Hollywood to create more diverse and authentic programming. The symposium takes place at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (108 Cathedral Place, 505-983-1666). Most screenings, which are free, are at the New Mexico History Museum (113 Lincoln Ave., 505-476-5200).
The showcase is a collaboration between the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ Indian Market. Visit www.nmai.si.edu/ncs. — Casey Sanchez
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner