ACT Human Rights Film Festival and The Lyric present an exclusive screening of six Indigenous short films from the Sundance Institute. These films span geographies, cultures, and identities. Each is a celebration and exploration Indigenous artistic self-representation.
Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center is partnering with ACT and The Lyric for this screening. Preceding the film screening, Assistant Professor Lindsey Schneider will speak about Indigenous cultural expression.
Birds in the Earth (11 minutes), Marja Helander (Sámi). Examining the deeper questions of the ownership of the Sami land through the ballet performances of two young dancers.
Fainting Spells (10 minutes), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño). Told through recollections of youth, learning, lore, and departure, this is an imagined myth for the Indian pipe plant used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.
Jáaji Approx (8 minutes), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga Band of Luiseño). Against landscapes that the artist and his father traversed, audio of the father in the Ho-Chunk language is transcribed using the International Phonetic Alphabet, which tapers off, narrowing the distance between recorder and recordings, new and traditional, memory and song.
My Father’s Tools (7 minutes), Heather Condo (Mi’gmaq). Stephen continues producing traditional baskets to honor his father and thus finds peace in his studio as he connects with the man who taught him the craft.
Throat Singing in Kangirsuk (4 minutes), Eva Kaukai (Inuit) and Manon Chamberland (Inuit). Eva and Manon practice the art of throat singing in the small village of Kangirsuk, in their native Arctic land. Interspliced with footage of the four seasons of Kangirsuk by Johnny Nassak.
Shinaab, Part II (8 minutes), Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians). A look at Ojibwe ideas surrounding the death process as a young man strives to honor his late father.
Marja Helander (Sámi) is a Finnish photographic and video artist. She graduated from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 1999. The focus of her work is on the postcolonial topics in the Sámi area, particularly the global mining industry. Her recent short film Birds in the Earth won the Risto Jarva Prize and the main prize at the 2018 Tampere Film Festival.
Sky Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians. His work centers around personal positions of Indigneous homeland and landscape, designs of language as containers of culture, and the play between the known and the unknowable. He is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow for 2019.
Heather Condo (Mi’gmaq) was born in Maria, Quebec, on October 14, 1971. She likes hunting, fishing, painting, and traveling. She was adopted and grew up in Massachusetts, but in 2005, Condo moved back to Gesgapegiag, where a lot of her family resides. Condo has talked about making this film for quite some time and was encouraged by her son to make it with Wapikoni
Eva Kaukai (Inuit) was born in Nunavik and grew up in Kangirsuk. With Wapikoni, she was able to use sound and video to express her reality, her culture, and her attachment to the land through throat singing.
Manon Chamberland (Inuit) was born in Nunavik, and she grew up in Kangirsuk. With Wapikoni, she was able to use sound and video to express her reality, her culture and her attachment to the land through throat singing.
Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians) is a filmmaker whose short film Shinaab played at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and AFI Fest. His follow-up short, Shinaab, Part II, premiered in 2018 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He was supported at the 2017 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab and 2018 Sundance Institute Directors Lab, and he has been awarded grants and fellowships from Cinereach, the McKnight Foundation, and Time Warner Foundation.
About Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program
The Indigenous Program champions Indigenous independent storytelling artists through residency Labs, Fellowships, public programming, and a year-round continuum of creative, financial, and tactical support. The Program conducts outreach and education to identify a new generation of Indigenous voices, connecting them with opportunities to develop their storytelling projects, and bringing them and their work back to Indigenous lands. At its core, the Program seeks to inspire self-determination among Indigenous filmmakers and communities by centering Indigenous people in telling their own stories.
Art House Convergence and Sundance Institute partnered in this program endeavor to honor and celebrate National Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month (November).