NEWS RELEASE                     
For Immediate Release 
  Eric Davis, Marketing & Communications Director
                505.424.2351, or
  James Lujan (Taos Pueblo), Chair, Cinematic Arts & Technology Department
505.424.5716, or

Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA)

Students Participate in 



in Stuttgart, Germany

SANTA FE, N.M - December 6, 2019.

IAIA students and alumni have been selected to participate in the  INDIANER INUIT: THE NORTH AMERICAN NATIVE FILM FESTIVAL which takes place in Stuttgart, Germany, February 6-9, 2020.  DREAMS HAVE NO BORDERS  is the theme of the festival. 

The concept behind this festival, which is unique to Europe, is a channel providing international understanding and cultural dialogue.  As well as cinema, it offers the audience the opportunity to personally meet and converse with the Indigenous filmmakers. In films, discussions, and conversations, new, exciting, and unexpected themes about the culture of the North American Indians can be discussed - leaving the one-dimensional clich├ęs far behind.

Supported by the German UNICEF Stuttgart; the American Indian Film Institute and Festival in San Francisco; and the Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival Edmonton, Canada; the annua l INDIANER INUIT: The North American Native Film Festival is the first and only festival of its kind in Europe.

IAIA's participation in the festival is due to a current student -- Erika Knecht,  who started working with the Indianer Inuit: The North American Film Festival in 2018 for an internship as part of her Masters Program in Art History at the University of Cologne

Erika Knecht

Erika primarily assisted the festival director, and while doing so she was impressed with how many indigenous guests were brought to Germany for the Festival, and loved how they all formed a community far away from home.  After finishing her work for her first film festival, she became an organizing member.

When Erika first began attending IAIA, she realized how lucky she was that she'd been traveling most of her life, because she discovered that  many of her fellow students had just left their reservation for the first time. She thought that it would be a great idea to have IAIA students and films at the Festival, which would provide them with an opportunity they probably would have not gotten otherwise. 

Upon her return to IAIA in the in the summer 2018, she had already laid the groundwork to create a collaboration with the Cinematic Arts & Technology Department to send students to Germany to attend the Festival. In conjunction with IAIA Director of Advancement Danyelle Means (Oglala Lakota) she was able to finalize the plans.

Carrie Dada

Echota KillsNight

Additionally, IAIA Alumna  Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) '05, a noted photographer, is an invited guest of the festival. She grew up  on the Chemehuevi Valley Indian Reservation in the Mohave Desert, and through h er award-winning photography she has been able to artistically capture and document the diversity of contemporary indigenous identities.

IAIA Short Films in the program include:

The Dust In Our Eyes
Director: Carrie Dada, 14 min.  Short Drama, USA, 2019.

Devil's Throne
Director: Echota KillsNight, 15 min., Short Drama, USA, 2016.   
Devil's Throne still

Director: Leroy Grafe, 9 min., Short Drama, USA, 2018.

Director: Carrie Dada, 9 min, Short Drama, USA, 2018.

Water Is Life
Director: Echota KillsNight, 5 min. Music Video, USA, 2017.
Exhaust still

Director: Razelle Benally (Navajo Nation), 11 min., Short Drama, USA, 2017.

Big Sister Rug
Director: Dwayne Joe (Navajo Nation), 15 min., Short Documentary, USA, 2016.

Dwayne Joe during filming

IAIA Cinematic Arts and Technology Chair James Lujan (Taos Pueblo) remarked: "Stuttgart is an opportunity for IAIA's Cinematic Arts & Technology program to spread its wings internationally.  Having our students attend and screen their films at the festival is an important step in marketing and building international awareness and recognition for IAIA."

To arrange an interview with James Lujan or any of the students, please contact Eric Davis at 505.424.2351, or

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 495 full time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe.  IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission -- and is the only college in New Mexico accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design

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

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