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.
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.
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.