By Film Threat Staff | December 31, 2002

The Sundance Film Festival’s Native Forum highlights films made by Native Americans and indigenous peoples. This year’s Native Forum opens on Friday, January 17th with the U.S. premiere of Alanis Obomsawin’s new documentary “IS THE CROWN AT WAR WITH US?” The rest of the program includes three feature-length and seven short films, and is a blend of new projects from such established filmmakers as Randy Redroad, Shirley Cheechoo, and such emerging filmmakers as Ivan Sen, Darlene Naponse, Shane Hannigan, Puka Moeau, and Nicholas Boseley. With four world premieres and four U.S. premieres, the ninth annual Native Forum continues to emphasize the innovations in Native filmmaking and give life to the rich history of artistic expression and storytelling inherent to indigenous life.
In addition to the 11 films screening in the Native Forum program, the Institute is also presenting two seminars. “INDIGENOUS DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING” with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin is a seminar designed to explore the specific challenges faced by indigenous filmmakers and their responsibility to their communities and the story. Renowned New Zealand filmmaker and screenwriter Merata Mita leads “SCREENWRITING FROM THE INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVE,” a screenwriting seminar that focuses on the unique forms of storytelling used by indigenous filmmakers.
“This year’s Native Forum features an impressive cross-section of the different facets of Native cinema,” said Bird Runningwater, Native American Initiatives programmer at the Sundance Institute. “With bold uses of dramatic and documentary filmmaking that include themes of music, dance, kinship, cosmology, lamentations and hope, these films are the product of an emphasis on indigenous creative control in writing and directing. Offering poignant contributions to cinema, the Native Forum filmmakers represent a larger community that extends globally.”
For information on the Native Forum selections, visit the Sundance website.

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