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Native lens: Pueblo Film Fest shows audience ‘how we view the world’

Each of the 12 films at the Pueblo Film Festival is either made by a Native filmmaker or is about Native American culture.

“The Pueblo Film Fest is one of the IPCC’s most unique events. It is a chance for our Pueblo people to show the audience how we view the world,” says Bettina Sandoval (Taos), IPCC’s cultural education specialist and the Pueblo Film Fest’s principal organizer. “Our stories are being shared through modern media, and instead of being a fleeting moment, they are preserved in a more permanent way.”

Sandoval says putting together the festival took some time as filmmakers continue to find out about the event, which is in its fourth year.

Since its founding in 2014, the Pueblo Film Festival has brought together movie-loving audiences and Pueblo filmmakers who might not otherwise have a large venue to show their work.

Billy Luther

It also provides Native moviemakers with a venue to discuss their art, build relationships for coming projects, and wrestle with the future of film as their chosen medium. For some, storytelling through film combines oral traditions with the modern world’s mainstream expectations, a mixture that can pose challenges and even stir controversies within various communities.

Sandoval says the kick off for the festival is tonight’s screening of “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.”

The documentary by Catherine Bainbridge showcasing the role of Native Americans in popular music history has, to date, only had special viewings such as film festivals including Sundance, where it won a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling.

In addition to the 12 films, there will be four workshops – one on pitching ideas, one on screenwriting, one on casting and one that tackles the Pueblo perspectives on modern media.

“The panels add a little more to the festival,” Sandoval says. “The festival falls in line with the IPCC mission. We want to grow the festival for a place where native filmmakers can showcase their work and call attention to many of the Native American issues. This is an underserved area, and we’re hoping to fill that void.”