Edge of the Knife
Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife)

Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has added a comprehensive Indigenous focus to its 45th annual festival including a collection of narrative and documentary features all made by Indigenous directors; along with the fifth 4th World Indigenous Media Lab, a workshop and hands-on training for emerging and mid-career Indigenous artists; a kickoff celebration of Indigenous-made short films and filmmakers; a complimentary screening at Seattle Central Library; and a traveling shorts package themed Doing the Work!

SIFF INDIGENOUS PROGRAMMING

SIFF 2019’s lineup of Indigenous feature films

Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge of the Knife)
Directors: Hluugitgaa Gwaai Edenshaw (Haida), Jaada Yahlangnaay Helen Haig-Brown (Tsilhqot’in Nation) | Canada 2018 | 100 min

On a remote Canadian island, a nobleman retreats to the wilderness and spirals into insanity after accidentally killing his best friend’s son. Crafted by an all-Indigenous cast and crew, this is the first film ever made in the endangered Haida language.

For My Father’s Kingdom
Directors: Vea Mafile’o (Tongan/Māori), Jeremiah Tauamiti (Samoan) | Aotearoa New Zealand 2019 | 98 min

Though director Vea Mafile’o’s father now lives in New Zealand, he still tithes every cent possible to his church on his home island of Tonga. She created this documentary portrait to try to understand his motivations and her roots.

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear
Director: Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa) | USA 2019 | 84 min

This profile of Kiowa author Navarro Scott Momaday, 50 years after his Pulitzer Prize win, focuses on both his place in American literature and his role in keeping Native American oral tradition alive.

Top End Wedding
Director: Wayne Blair (Batjala Mununjali Wakkawakka) | Australia 2019 | 103 min

A young Australian couple returns to the indigenous bride’s Northern Territory hometown to find Mom missing; their hunt takes them though luscious landscapes and culture-clash humor in this adorable rom-com.

Vai
Director: Becs Arahanga, Amberley Jo Aumuaa, Matasila Freshwater, Dianna Fuemana, Mīria George, ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Nicole Whippy | Aotearoa New Zealand 2019 | 90 min

A sequel of sorts to SIFF 2018’s breathtaking Waru, featuring eight vignettes directed by nine female South Pacific filmmakers about eight Indigenous women all connected by their name and their empowering island stories.

SIFF 2019’s lineup of Indigenous short films

Chasing History – Charles Elmore & Cherokee Nation – USA – 2019

dukʷibəɫ swatixʷtəd (Changer’s Land) – Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole) USA – 2018

The Grave Digger of Kapu – Libby Hakaraia (Maori) – Aotearoa New Zealand – 2018

Gutk’odau (Yellow) – Adam Piron (Kiowa) – USA – 2019

Leave it on the Water – Steve Sxwithul’txw (Penelakut) – Canada – 2018

Moa Ma Le Pinko (Chicken and Bingo) – Amberly Jo Aumua (Māori/Samoan), Courtney Montour (Mohawk), Jesse Littlebird (Laguna/Kewa Pueblos)- Aotearoa New Zealand – 2018

Our Way of Life: A Video Poem for My Father – Lacy Hawk (Suquamish) USA – 2019

Thunderbird – Erin Collins (Anishnabe/Fort William) – Canada – 2018

DOING THE WORK!
A package of seven short films about Indigenous people doing different types of work.

Biidaaban – Amanda Spotted Fawn Strong (Michif) – Canada – 2018

Blood (and) Memory 2 – Marcella Ernest (Ojibwe) – USA – 2019

Emptying the Tank – Caroline Monnet (Algonquin) – Canada – 2018

Fast Horse – Alexandra Lazarowich (Cree) – Canada – 2018

Les Vaillants – Martin Gunn (Kitcisakik/Anishnabe) – Canada – 2018

Paulette – Heather Rae (Cherokee) – USA – 2019

Sweetheart Dancers – Ben Alex-Dupris (Colville) – USA – 2019

Additionally, SIFF’s second Saturday Night Party celebrates an Australian Indigenous feature, Top End Wedding, on May 25 at The House Studios.

4th WORLD INDIGENOUS MEDIA LAB
Returning for a fifth year in partnership with SIFF, the 4th World Indigenous Media Lab features nine emerging and established Indigenous filmmakers from across North America over Memorial Day weekend, May 23 through 27. During the Media Lab, these artists create visual stories from their perspective as well as hone their filmmaking skills through industry master classes and hands-on training.

KICKOFF EVENT AT DISCOVERY CENTER
A celebration of Indigenous culture kicks off Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 24 with a complimentary event at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, in partnership with The Gates Foundation. The evening includes a screening of Indigenous short films, a panel discussion about media representation with Native filmmakers, curated art market in partnership with yəhaw̓, and complimentary Indigenous foods and beverages.

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear by Jeffrey Palmer. photo by Sirin Samman.
N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear by Jeffrey Palmer. photo by Sirin Samman.

COMPLIMENTARY SCREENING AT CENTRAL LIBRARY
Join SIFF and the Seattle Central Library for a special complimentary screening of N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear, a profile of Kiowa author Navarro Scott Momaday, 50 years after his Pulitzer Prize win, that focuses on both his place in American literature and his role in keeping Native American oral tradition alive. The feature will be paired with short Gutk’odau (Yellow) by Adam Piron (Kiowa). Following the screening, director Adam Piron, community activist Paulette Jordan (Couer d’Alene), short film director Ben Alex-Dupris (Colville), and other special guests will engage in a Q&A on the importance of shifting narrative from an Indigenous point of view through storytelling methodologies.

Share this article ...