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The 2011 Native American Film + Video Festival

Organized by the Film and Video Center (FVC) of the National Museum of the American Indian, the Native American Film + Video Festival celebrates the creative energy of Native American directors, producers, writers, actors, musicians, cultural activists, and the many others who support their endeavors.

Thirty years ago, two years after the festival was founded in 1979, FVC officially began its long life in the museum as the country’s first media arts center for Native American film. From the outset, FVC and the festival have been dedicated to indigenous production from throughout the Americas, designed to be a welcoming place for Native filmmakers and other participants in indigenous film. For this year’s festival, more than 100 participants in Native film will be in attendance, visiting us from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Suriname, and the United States. This provides our audience with an unparalleled opportunity to see great new films and to be part of conversations with creative people from many different Native communities. 

We are most appreciative of the work done by the 2011 festival’s guest selectors. Ana Rosa Duarte, Helen Haig-Brown, Terry Jones, and Nancy Marie Mithlo brought their wide-ranging experiences and expertise to bear in the creation of a rich and diverse festival program. From the more than 400 entries received, nearly 100 award-winning shorts, features, and documentaries will be screened.

This year we present a focus on Mother Earth in crisis, emphasizing Native knowledge of the environment. Themes sounded throughout the festival—honor to elders and hope for youth, courageous community action, women’s perspectives, the survival of Native languages, and many others—speak of the Native realities of the 21st century. Throughout this week, the festival brings you Native storytelling at its best: wrenching at times, touching, risky, ironic, hilarious, and experimental. We look forward to your presence and welcome your comments and responses to the exciting works being screened.

—Elizabeth Weatherford, Founding Director, Native American Film + Video Festival