Native American stereotypes have permeated Hollywood for decades, from the tomahawk-wielding “savages” in cowboy-and-Indian Westerns to animated Disney classics like Peter Pan and Pocahontas. The inaugural Talōm Aptzāi Indigenous Film Festival aims to “highlight the experiences, resiliency, creativity and contributions” of the Native American community through cinema created by indigenous filmmakers.
“Not only is it important to refute negative portrayals of underrepresented people, but giving these artists a platform will show the breadth of talent among indigenous artists,” said Scott Pewenofkit, a festival director and programmer, San Antonio-based filmmaker and member of the Kiowa tribe in Oklahoma. “I hope that people get to see the diverse types of films that Native American filmmakers are creating.”
During Talōm Aptzāi, which means “ancient fire” in Pajalate (a Coahuiltecan language), host nonprofit American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions will screen nine straight hours of shorts, documentaries and feature films. Included in the lineup are films on cultural appropriation, addiction, gender issues, forced family separation and spirituality.
“There is a mini-renaissance of indigenous filmmaking going on right now,” Pewenofkit said. “There are quite a few immensely talented indigenous filmmakers making some great films about contemporary indigenous life.”
Free, Sun Aug. 25, noon-9p.m., Guadalupe Theater, 1301 Guadalupe St, (210) 271-3151, aitscm.org.
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