Native Crossroads Film Festival Turns Its Gaze to the Future

Published March 2, 2019

NORMAN, Okla. —  How will indigenous people see themselves, tell their stories, in the future? “Futures” examines this in the seventh annual Native Crossroads Film Festival, set for April 4 through 6 at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman.

Guests to the festival will enjoy panel discussions and screenings of shorts and features from Indigenous people around the world.

This year’s poster art was created by A. Torin Salter (Cherokee), a senior in Oklahoma City schools. Other artists recognized for their design entries are Kenden Vaughn Springer (Otoe Missouria of Oklahoma) and Bella Remy (Cherokee).

The symposium on Thursday will discuss gaming and technology with Lee Francis, self-proclaimed Indigenerd, poet, activist and comic creator.

The feature film “Sami Blood” will screen Thursday evening at 7:30. Written and directed by Amanda Kernell, the story follows a Sami girl in 1930s Lapland as she chooses between her past and her future.

Friday and Saturday will have three blocks of short films and six features during the festival:

“Red Hand” follows a man with the power to heal as he time-travels from the future to rescue a tech genius who is pivotal in saving the Native American race. They are helped by a psychic comic book artist who has foreseen their appearance and written comic books telling of the prophecy. Directed by Rodrick Pocowatchit, Comanche. “Red Hand” will screen at 3 p.m. Friday.

“Wiñaypacha (Eternity),” directed by Oscar Catacora, is the first movie shot entirely in Aymara, an Indigenous language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes in the south of Peru and in the northwest of Bolivia. With only two characters, it draws its minimalist nature from Ozu and Kurosawa. This powerful story of waiting screens at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Tia and Piujuq” tells the story of a unique friendship between two girls – one a Syrian refugee, the other an Inuk. Co-written by Lucy Tulugarjuk, Marie-Helene Cousineau and Samuel Cohn-Cousineau and directed by Tulugarjuk, “Tia and Piujuq” screens at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Also set for Saturday, the short “Coapan En Espera ,” an experimental documentary highlighting the migratory history and diaspora of a community from Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, will screen before the feature “El Sembrador (The Sower),” directed by Melissa Elizondo. The block of films begins at 2 p.m. Set in the Mexican state of Chiapas, the story focuses on a teacher for the local indigenous children who becomes a beacon of hope for the creation of a humanistic education model based on curiosity and love for the outside world. Panelists for this block include Amanda Cuellar, OU Film and Media Studies, and Frederico Cuatlacuatl, director of “Coapan En Espera.”

For the sports enthusiast, the Sports Shorts block begins at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will screen six films about horse races, boxers and more. Featured in this block is “Playground of the Native Son,” which tells a David vs. Goliath story of the 1925 football game pitting the Hominy Indians from Oklahoma against the New York Giants.

The suspense-filled sci-fi adventure “Among Us – In the Land of our Shadows” will screen at 8 p.m. Saturday. The feature for all ages draws on Greenlandic culture, myth, folklore and legends, with a healthy dose of humor.

The symposium kicks off at 1 p.m. on Thursday with several nationally known scholars of Indigenous media presenting from their research.

For more information or accommodations, contact the OU Department of Film and Media Studies at (405) 325-3020 or fms@ou.edu. For a complete schedule, visit nativecrossroads.org.

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