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Why a film festival?

The power of the story is rooted deeply within Indigenous and Native cultures around the world.  Oral tradition in our communities not only unites us, but passes cultural teachings and practices from generation to generation.  We understand, as human beings, that the craft of storytelling has the power to shape culture and incite meaningful change.  That is why we believe creating a platform for sharing, supporting, and celebrating Indigenous cinema, filmmakers, and artists is key to inspiring actionable change in the industry and the difficult challenges our Indigenous and Native communities face today.  This includes supporting efforts that empower Indigenous voices to be represented in popular media and entertainment in Hollywood and throughout the industry. 

Through the Festival, we will explore a diverse spectrum of Indigenous storytelling to strengthen heritage and cultural identity in our communities.  With engaging panels and discussions with established and growing indigenous artists, filmmakers, and innovators, we hope to inspire the next generation of vibrant Očhéthi Šakówiŋ leaders and Indigenous storytellers in our communities.  Bringing these resources to the Pine Ridge Reservation, we hope to equip these emerging leaders with the tools they need to succeed and connect them by creating a space to discover, be curious, and have dialogues.  Furthermore, we envision continuing opportunities of support for these leaders beyond the Festival, whether through year-­round workshops, programs, or mentorships.

The Festival will strive to bring together, encourage, and build partnerships with local and regional organizations and artists, Tribal and State programs, and established or emerging professionals and influencers in the industries of motion picture arts and entertainment.  These relationships will provide sustainable support for opening doors to effective strategies for change within our community through the use of art while advancing the exposure of Indigenous arts and entertainment.