“This year we have Neil Diamond— not the singer! A filmmaker!” said Argelia Gonzalez Hurtado, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish and co-curator of the 2018 Theater, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) Film Series, titled “Visions and Voices: Indigenous Media from the Americas.” This program, held almost every year by TFMS, offers several screenings of films along with lectures from their respective filmmakers.
This year, the theme is “Indigenous Media from the Americas.” The series is dedicated to indigenous filmmakers and films about their experiences as native people. “It is well known that the history and stories of indigenous people around the world have been forgotten, ignored, or erased from the national narrative,” Hurtado told The Point News. “These native filmmakers are recovering the traditions, the history and the stories of their communities through videos and films.”
The series will kick off with a lecture by renowned scholar Amalia Córdova, PhD, digital curator of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Sept. 17. Córdova will provide a general context for these films and filmmakers roles in the indigenous communities movements of self determination, decolonization, political and cultural activism.
The next part of the series, showing on Sept. 24, will feature Neil Diamond, a Cree-Canadian director and writer. Diamond will showcase his award winning documentary, “Reel Injun.” This film deconstructs the Hollywood-determined mythology of the stereotypical indigenous person, what Diamond refers to as “the Injun.” The film explores how this character has shaped our understanding of Native peoples. Beyond filmmaking, Diamond is also a founder and editorial board member for The Nation, a northern Cree news magazine.
In October, Lisa Jackson, an Anishinaabe filmmaker, will be showcasing a program of short films from indigenous people across the Americas. According to the Film Series brochure, Jackson is “known for her cross-genre projects, including VR, animation, performance art film and the musical.” The short films being showcased are created by indigenous filmmakers such as Amanda Strong, Teresa Jiménez, Edgar Sajcabún, Juan Manuel Costa and Caroline Monnet.
Finally, on Oct. 22, brothers Álvaro and Diego Sarmiento of Peru will show the visually stunning “Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas,” a “poetic journey into the depths of the Amazon.” The brothers will also show “Sonia’s Dream,” a film about an indigenous woman in Peru who teaches indigenous communities cooking as a way to overcome poverty.
This year’s TFMS Film Series follows a one year hiatus following the death of Professor of TFMS Joanne Klein, PhD, in late 2016. The latest TFMS Film Series was held in fall of 2016, and was titled “Black Films Matter: The L.A. Rebellion.”