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Eric Davis, Marketing & Communications Director
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Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)
Sponsors Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
Indigenous Film Program
Santa Fe: October 12, 2020

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, in partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), presents a program of 8 feature films and 17 short films highlighting the most exciting Indigenous themes and filmmakers of 2020.

"It's taken several years for this program to grow to this stature," SFiFF Advisory Chair Gary Farmer (Haudenosaunee/Iroquois) notes, "I'm really pleased with the number of Indigenous films and quality selections we have for the program this year."

Honoring Santa Fe's abundant history as a hub for Native American arts and culture, SFiFF presents its 12th Annual Indigenous Film Program. These films include narrative features, documentaries, and short films highlighting Indigenous subjects or created by Indigenous filmmakers. 


Monkey Beach directed by Loretta Todd (Métis-Cree)
Lisa (Grace Dove (Shuswap) of The Revenant), a rebellious young woman, must accept her true heroic nature in order to save Jimmy, her brother who is lost at sea. MONKEY BEACH is set in the magnificent forests and waterways of the Pacific Northwest and the Haisla village of Kitamaat. Haisla cultural stories are woven into the contemporary lives of Lisa and her family, along with a cast of otherworldly characters including ghosts and Sasquatches - the 'monkeys' of Monkey Beach. The film is based on the novel Monkey Beach, written by former IAIA MFA Mentor Eden Robinson (Haisla).
Where: Motorama at the Downs Drive-In Theater
When: Thursday, October 15th at 7:30pm - Gates Open 5pm-7:15pm

Rustic Oracle directed by Sonia Bonspille Boileau (Mohawk)
Ivy tries to understand what happened to her big sister, Heather, who has vanished from their small Mohawk community. Ivy and her mother Susan embark on an unwelcome journey to find Heather which ultimately brings the pair closer together despite challenging circumstances.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

Juliana and the Medicine Fish directed by Jeremy Torrie (Ojibway)
While spending the summer trying to process her mother's death, Juliana, with the help of her friend, uncovers an ancient secret that helps her reconcile with her father and at the same time, while their home and livelihoods are at stake, exemplifies the power of a father-daughter bond.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020


My Dear Mother directed by Paul-Anders Simma (Sami)
Tasha is an eleven-year-old Lapp girl. She is an inmate of a Russian orphanage, even though she is not an orphan. Tasha believes that her mother is dead by a drug overdose, when one day, her biological mother suddenly calls her. Her mother claims that she is now drug free, but Tasha has mixed feelings for this newfound "mother." Tasha reaches a difficult crossroads and has to make a decision that will have an enormous impact on the rest of her life.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

My Blood Is Red directed by Various
A young Indigenous rapper named Werá uses his lyrics to address violence against his people. On his journey, Werá is adopted by Criolo, one of Brazil's most famous music artists and godfather of Brazilian hip-hop. Driven by beats and lyrics, the film follows Werá to the largest assembly of Indigenous people in Brazil, a demonstration where protestors were repelled with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

We Are Unarmed directed by Gwendolen Cates
Chronicling the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, both a warning and an inspiration as the United States moves into uncharted territory.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

SFiFF Indigenous Short Film Program

Blackwater directed by Boise Esquerra (Hopi)
After years of reckless alcoholism, a country music star finally hits rock bottom and is court-ordered into wellness therapy with an offbeat group of misfits on her hometown reservation.

Border Nation directed by Jason Jaacks (Aotomi)
Ofelia Rivas lives just north of the US-Mexico border, which divides the ancestral territory of the Tohono O'odham. With an increasingly militarized border, can Ofelia's traditional way of life survive?

Future Ancestor directed by Josue Rivas (Mexica/Otomi)
Indigenous scholar and poet Lyla June (Navajo/Cheyenne) challenges the status quo in New Mexico.

Invasion: The Unist'ot'en's Fight for Sovereignty directed by Michael Toledano and Sam Vinal
In this era of "reconciliation with Indigenous Nations," native land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION joins the frontlines of the Unist'ot'en Camp, the larger Wet'suwet'en Nation, standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue committing violence against Indigenous people.

Now Is The Time directed by Christopher Auchter (Haida)
On the 50th anniversary of the first new totem pole raising on British Columbia's Haida Gwaii in almost a century, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps through history to revisit the day that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.

Nuxalk Radio directed by Banchi Hanuse (Nuxalk)
A day in the life of 91.1, Nuxalk Radio, a radio station built to help keep the Nuxalkmc language alive, broadcasting the laws of the lands and waters.

Tarcila: Indigenous Solutions to Climate Change from Peru directed by Sarah Kuck
Activist Tarcila Rivera Zea, a Quechua elder fighting for Indigenous rights in Peru, finds her lifelong efforts to empower her people growing increasingly crucial as climate change raises the stakes.

Without A Whisper - Konnón kwe directed by Katsitsionni Fox (Akwesasne Mohawk)
Mohawk Clan Mother Louise Herne and Professor Sally Roesch Wagner join forces to expose the hidden history of the influence of Indigenous Women on the women's rights movement.

Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

NEW MEXICO FEATURES - Indigenous Films

Seekers directed by Aurore Vullierme
The Reval brothers, Audie and Leon, are Jicarilla Apaches. One is a hunter, the other a politician. They were forcibly raised in boarding schools off their ancestral land. When Leon loses tribal elections, the question of their tribal affiliation legitimacy resurfaces, stronger than ever. The uncertainty of their future echoes that of the Jicarilla tribe, fighting to restore the unity of its scattered memory.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

FUKRY directed by Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo)
From SFiFF alumnus Blackhorse Lowe comes a doom rom-com set in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The film follows a group of Native American men and women as they go through the ups and downs of love.
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

NEW MEXICO SHORTS - Indigenous Films

New Mexico Narrative Short Program
4 Years to Infinite directed by Jordana Bass (Winnebago)
Part of a Balanced Breakfast directed by Jordan Rae Herron
They Return directed by Lonnie R Begaye (Navajo)
Where: Virtual Cinema
When: October 14th-18th, 2020

New Mexico Documentary Short Program
Lloyd "Kiva" New: An American Entrepreneur directed by IAIA Student Nathaniel Fuentes (Santa Clara Pueblo)

SFiFF Presents the 2020 Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Student Short Program
Sister directed by Jedadiah Richards (Oglala Lakota Sioux)
Tomena directed by Gary Medina Cook (Genizaro)
Sage Me Not directed by Erik Sanchez (Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe)
The Show directed by Leroy Grafe
Broduce directed by Carrie Dada (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma)

Festival Passes and Individual Tickets for SFiFF's Drive-In films and the Virtual Film Fest are on sale now.

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Offering undergraduate degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, and Performing Arts -- an MFA in Creative Writing -- along with certificates in Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History -- IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. The school serves approximately 500 full time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
About IAIA -- For over 50 years, the Institute of American Indian Arts has played a key role in the direction and shape of Native expression. With an internationally acclaimed college, museum, and tribal support resource through our Land-Grant Programs, IAIA is dedicated to the study and advancement of Native arts and cultures -- and committed to student achievement and the preservation and progress of their communities.  Learn more about IAIA and our mission at
The Institute of American Indian Arts Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.  To make a donation on-line, please click here -- or call toll free: 1.800.804.6423.