FNFVF Spring Appeal 2017

The filmmakers that submit their works to the First Nations Film and Video Festival are doing so with a trust that we will work our hardest to get their film seen by the great arts audiences here in Chicago. First Nations Film and Video Festival, Inc. and its venue partners do our best to provide accessible programming that presents Native American people and society in a contemporary view where we hold the gaze, and we control how we represent ourselves.

For so long, the ability to represent ourselves in media has been out of the hands of Native people. The ability to own our own experiences, spaces, and representations has been a long, hard road in the face of so many who wish to take that authority away from Native filmmakers for their own purposes. A film festival dedicated entirely to interacting with Native American filmmakers from the United States, Canada, Central and South America, and Mexico is a beacon of Native self-representation in a murky world of Native iconography, and we are proud to be able to bring these films, some that will never have another chance to be viewed, to our audiences.

We make no money from the programs, charging no admission fees. We do not charge a submission fee to the artists. As filmmakers and artists ourselves, we know the value of our efforts in creating art. Sometimes filmmakers, especially new and beginning filmmakers, cannot afford entry fees, yet, having their film seen by an audience is much too important for the careers of filmmakers to have them be left out. Which is why the First Nations Film and Video Festival will remain free to enter by Indigenous filmmakers.

There are times when we need to pay fees to venues or to producers of feature films. We do so gladly. Because we are such a small organization, our finances are made up mostly of donations from kind patrons, the support of our great venues, and the occasional grant funding.

Right now, we are working to secure a feature film in time for our Spring 2017 film festival set to take place May 2 – May 10 at venues across Chicago, with our opening program at the historic Claudia Cassidy Theater in the heart of downtown Chicago. Unfortunately, the cost of securing any feature film that has not been submitted to us through our call for entries, is out of our budgetary means and we are looking to raise funds in several ways.

FNFVF Inc is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to showcasing the works of Native peoples at appropriate venues in Chicago and beyond. We will once again screen at the University of Wisconsin Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We have screened as far away as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in Denver, Colorado. We have two great educational components, one that puts these Native-directed films into classrooms at any level, the other is our “The Other 51%: Native American Women Directors” that promotes the vastly underrepresented and overlooked voice in media.

We are appealing to you for support. There are a few ways you can help us bring these feature films to audiences here in Chicago. The first is a direct donation. You can email teh Festival Director at ernest-3@fnfvf.org about donations to FNFVF INC, or, for your ease, donate online via PayPal. (You can also click the DONATE NOW Button on our front page!) You can also support us on Facebook via the Network for Good campaign we are currently running. Though our goal is $6000, mainly for some great future events we are planning, the campaign pays out monthly if the donations are over $100. We set a short-term goal of $1000 by the end of the campaign. Lastly, we offer our TeeSpring Campaigns, where you can purchase a tee shirt or hoodie and the profits of each sale goes to our festival costs. All donations made to FNFVF Inc are tax-deductible.

Our patrons and supporters have been there through all the years and we cannot thank you all enough for your support of Native American first-voice and self-representation. In these times, such efforts become more and more important, when the gaze shifts and how Native peoples are viewed in media becomes more important than ever. First Nations Film and Video Festival Inc. will always be there, working to provide many opportunities for Native filmmakers to present their works and to showcase films that present our culture and people as an equal part of our shared society. The First Nations Film and Video Festival appreciates your support and ask that you support our efforts today.

With respect,

Ernest M Whiteman III (Northern Arapaho)

FNFVF Director/Filmmaker

Back to Business: Gearing up for the Fall 2016 Fest

FNFVF-Fall-2015-MENU-SMALLWith board elections complete, we have two new members. Please welcome Cassy Smith and Don Nole to the FNFVF Board. Also, thank Jane Stevens for her services and she moves on to other things.

Look for news on the Fall 2016 Call for Entries,  which will open in August, and possibly new fundraising efforts, events, and more, very soon. We hope to focus on colleges, universities, and maybe outreach to schools for the fall.

For donations, please use the PayPal link at the top of our website main page. Or, if you prefer, we have opened our Tee Spring FNFVF Store once again if you want cool tees or hoodie. All funds go to support our fall and spring festivals directly to cover venue fees or screening fees if needed.

Always, thank you for your years of support.

From the Director: FNFVF Board Candidate Drive

cropped-cropped-FNFVF-Poster-small.jpgFROM THE “DESK” OF THE FNFVF DIRECTOR:
As the year comes to a close, we at FNFVF Inc would like to thank all of you for your support here on FB and at our events.
Now, we must close 2015 with a request, we are a 501c3 non-profit organization and as such, we have an FNFVF Board to oversee our business activities. However, in the past year, we have had a major shake up in our board as several members left, leaving FNFVF Inc with a three-person board. So, I am writing now to say we are drumming up a Candidates Drive. We are looking for 2 – 4 members to fill in vacant seats on our Board.
What is required:
Limited time for meetings: the board meets quarterly, 4 times a year for two (2) hours, including time for travel, say, 4 hours round trip, we are looking at 24 hours a year for meetings. Plus, the addition of any added hours in supporting the screening events, fundraising, and other activities as needed. You will help guide the festival in creating new screening opportunities, and possible future fundraising efforts. (No grant writing!)
A dedication to the Guidelines of the festival: We have the guidelines we have in place for a simple reason, we have no vetting committee and we leave it up to the Native Film Directors themselves to vet their own film in their submissions. There is a deeper philosophical reason for our guidelines but that can be a discussion had with any potential candidates.
Be a Chicagoland Resident: We have venues in Evanston and Beverly and all points in-between and our Board should reflect that. We ask for candidates from Chicago and its suburbs so we can have our quarterly meetings on a regular schedule.
That is it.
We are scheduled to meet on Saturday, January 9th, possibly in Pilsen, specifically to discuss our board situation. As stated, we are operating with the minimum number and the current board’s term ends on June 30. If we cannot find replacements for the 4 vacant seats before then, we will have no way of updating our Bylaws and Guidelines, or replacing the Director, if needed.
If we do not fill the vacant seats and if only one of the current member chooses not to renew their seat, we will have to move to dissolve the corporation; FNFVF Inc will be no more.
But that will not be the end of the festival. We operated as a grassroots organization for well over 10 years, building our audiences and venues with each year. When we incorporated we essentially had to start over with new rules placed on our operations.
We would like to fill those vacant seats and keep FNFVF Inc going for many more years.
Our structure is small, the Director is only non-Board position. It has been non-paying and voluntary for all the years I have been Director. We are looking to expand in terms of securing more venues. The new online application has assured us an increase in submissions than in prior years. As for opening up more paying positions within the organization, we hope to discuss any ideas in the future. But we would need to stay a corporation.
So, if you are interested in serving the national Native American film community here in Chicago, please email me at ernest-3@fnfvf.org for details and to set up a face-to-face meet up about the festival. We hope to here from you soon.
Once again, thank you for your support over the years.
With respect,
Ernest M Whiteman III