Celebrate. Elevate. Empower. Reclaim.
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 storytelling to empower our youth and communities.
Piloted 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 showing experience—the Festival now currently operates as a community initiative of Indigene Entertainment and was rebranded in 2016 as the Indigenous Film Festival. Indigene oversees 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 three (3) summers, the Indigenous Film Festival has showcased 50 Indigenous-made films and celebrated over 40 Indigenous filmmakers representing more than 25 tribal and Indigenous 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, Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce, and The Heritage Center at Red Cloud School. Additionally, we have received encouragement and support by the Oglala Sioux Tribal government and our local community.
As we continue to grow, we’ve developed 7 key strategic goals to guide our work along the way:
Empower young people to tell their stories by giving them the access, tools, and opportunities to be successful—while boosting support for current and emerging artists.
Strengthen and grow partnerships with organizations whose philanthropic goals align with supporting and advancing Indigenous and Native representation and storytelling.
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 coalition building opportunities.
Develop a robust advancement strategy—eliciting meaningful conversation, engaging key stakeholders, and continuing to grow the Festival.
Establish a sound operations framework and systems while developing key leadership and staff roles to support organizational needs and goals.
Implement a sustainable fiscal management strategy that is deeply committed to advancing the Festival work, while promoting healthy programming, team support, and artist growth.