Denver's Indigenous Film & Arts Festival is unique to Colorado and aims to showcase films that focus on the stories and talents of native peoples. Now in its seventh year, the 2010 fest narrows that focus with an especially apt theme, Resilience.
Though screenings officially began on Tuesday, the hosting International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management saved some of the choicest moments for last, beginning tonight with a screening of Before Tomorrow, a harrowing epic of Inuit tribal life in the mid-19th century, studded with the plaintive songs of the Canadian McGarrigle Sisters. Before Tomorrow follows a 6 p.m. reception at the Ben Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13055 East 17th Avenue, Aurora; after the screening, stick around for a panel discussion on climate change in the Arctic. Admission is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested. Here's a taste of Before Tomorrow:
The fest then presents a mixed program of shorts and documentaries from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. on Saturday night from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Starz FilmCenter, Auraria campus; tickets are $7 to $9.75 and available at www.denverfilm.org. Call 303-595-3456. Afterward, also in Auraria's Tivoli Building, the fest will honor native comedian Charlie Hill, who appears in Sunday's closing night film, with a 9:30 p.m. ceremony in Room 320, followed by a performance by Hill. Tickets are $20.
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Closing night film Reel Injun gives a historical perspective on the sorry depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood, with an army of celebrities, from Clint Eastwood to Sacheen Littlefeather, who notoriously accepted Marlon Brando's Oscar in 1973 as part of the actor's protest against discrimination, doing the talking. Director Neil Diamond also twists in the knife with a series of clips of white American actors in "redface;" Charlie Hill, along with activist John Trudell, director Chris Eyre and actors Adam Beach and Wes Studi represent the other side of the fence. Check out the trailer:
Doors open Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2100 Colorado Boulevard; a Q&A with director Neil Diamond and Charlie Hill and meet and greet dessert reception follow the screening. Admission is $10.