Promoting Indigenous Cinema to Europe, Worldwide Audience

EFM Collage

Published February 28, 2016

BERLIN, GERMANY — Vision Maker Media Executive Director Shirley Sneve (Rosebud Sioux) and Board member Maya Solis (Pascua Yaqui/Blackfeet) represented the United States at the European Film Market (EFM) as part of the Indigenous Cinema Stand in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 11-19. Solis works for the Native American and Indigenous Film Program at the Sundance Institute. Elizabeth Weatherford, Indigenous Media Initiatives and the founding director of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, is the third American partner in these efforts to promote Indigenous cinema to European and worldwide audiences.

Organized by ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Canada Council for the Arts, this is the second year for 11 Indigenous media partners to share in this promotional effort.

KIVALINA, a film produced by Gina Abatemarco and funded by Vision Maker Media, premiered at EFM as part of the Culinary Cinema program. KIVALINA is an observational portrait of an Inupiaq Eskimo people trapped on a disappearing island in Arctic, Alaska. Told with intimate access and cinematic imagery, the film explores the community’s plight to survive in a landscape and a system that is failing them.

Prior to EFM, Sneve was in Paris, France, in meetings with museums and broadcasters to promote VMM films. Filmmaker Sylvie Jacquemin (Indians Like Us) and Sophie Gergaud, coordinator of a Native American festival in France, Festival Ciné Alter’Natif, helped coordinate Sneve’s meetings. “We have always been told that Europeans are fascinated with Native cultures, so that selling our films there should be easy,” Sneve commented about her trip. “That may be true, but connecting the right film with the right buyer takes extensive research and time. We are working hard to make this investment pay off for Vision Maker Media documentaries.”

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