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Moving images: Smithsonian presents Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the 17th year, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe.

Isuaqtuq Ikkidluak out on the sea ice while seal hunting in the film “Angry Inuk.” (SOURCE: Alethea Araquq-Baril)

It will be presented from Tuesday, Aug. 15 through Aug. 20. The event runs in conjunction with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest juried show of Native fine art in the world.

The showcase, at the New Mexico History Museum, will screen more than 50 feature-length and short films representing seven countries and 31 Native nations, including the winners of SWAIA’s moving-image category, Classification X.

All of the museum’s Saturday, Aug. 19, screenings are family-friendly, and the day includes a special outdoor screening of Disney’s “Moana” at the Santa Fe Railyard, says Joshua Voda, public affairs specialist for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

A scene from the film “The Owl and the Lemming.” (SOURCE: Taqqut Productions )

Admission to all of the showcase’s events is free.

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Voda says one of the highlights of the showcase is the opening film, “Mankiller,” by filmmaker Valerie Red-Horse Mohl Mankiller.

Peter Bratt directed “Dolores.”

The documentary film celebrates the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

He says that later in the week, the showcase collaborates with Sundance Institute and PBS Distribution to screen “Dolores,” the insightful documentary about workers’ rights icon Dolores Huerta, directed by Peter Bratt.

“The film premiered as an Official Selection in the U.S. documentary category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival,” he says. “The showcase closes with Sam Wainwright Douglas’ ‘Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film,’ which follows the art collective Postcommodity as they strive to construct Repellent Fence, a two-mile outdoor artwork that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Steelworkers are featured in the documentary “Metal Road.” (SOURCE: Kansas State Historical Society)

The museum will also host its annual “State of the Art” conversation at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, with a theme of “Indian Art and Indian Activism.”

“Film, perhaps in some ways more than any other medium, offers a visceral immediacy to topics concerning and affecting Native communities,” says Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “This year, the museum has put much focus into presenting films and programming that embrace this immediacy and hopefully leave viewers not simply intrigued or entertained, but more informed to the state of Native affairs across Indian Country and beyond.”

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