Celebrate. Elevate. Empower.
Our story began when a collective of like-minded Indigenous artists and educators from the Pine Ridge Reservation came together with a common goal: use art as a vehicle for creating positive and impactful change on the Reservation.
Piloted independently in the summer of 2015 by founding members Angel Two Bulls, Willi White, Angel White Eyes, Jimi La Pointe, Amandeline Ecoffey, Mike Patton, and Shenique Milton as the Guerilla Independent Film Showcase—an outdoor movie experience—the Festival now operates as a community initiative of Indigene Entertainment and was rebranded in 2016 as the Indigenous Film Festival. Indigene oversees and manages all aspects of the Festival while recruiting talented and passionate people to plan, coordinate, advise, jury, fundraise, and execute the vision of the Festival.
The Festival is scheduled alongside the Oglala Lakota Nation wačhípi (pow wow), rodeo, and fair held annually during the first weekend of August each year on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota.
For the past two summers, the Indigenous Film Festival has showcased 32 films and celebrated 27 filmmakers representing 24 tribal nations— introducing the Pine Ridge community to a diverse collection of Indigenous-made cinema.
We serve Indigenous and Native filmmakers, storytellers, and creators from North American, New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Islands, and other regions.
Working closely with some of the States premier art supporters, we’ve begun to establish relationships with organizations and individuals who believe in Indigenous cinema, including First Peoples Fund, the South Dakota Film Office, and The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School. Additionally, we have been generously supported by the Oglala Sioux Tribal government and the local community.
Entering our third year, the Indigenous Film Festival has 7 key strategic goals:
- Encouraging young people to tell their stories by giving them the access, tools, and opportunities to be successful—while boosting support for emerging artists.
- Strengthen and grow key partnerships with organizations whose philanthropic goals align with supporting and advancing Indigenous and Native arts.
- Expand and develop programming that supports the mission and vision of the Film Festival, while increasing the value and experience for key stakeholders, audience members, filmmakers, and community.
- Engage established and emerging Indigenous and Native artists, influencers, and creators in the industries of film, arts, and entertainment with strategic outreach for meaningful mentorship, partnership, collaboration, and team building opportunities.
- Develop a robust marketing and fundraising strategy—eliciting meaningful conversation, engaging key stakeholders, and continuing to advance the development of the Festival.
- Establish a framework for the order of operations and develop key leadership and staff roles to support specific organizational needs and goals.
- Implement a strong fiscal management strategy that is deeply committed to advancing the Festival work, while promoting healthy sustainable programming, team support, and artist growth.