Announcing the Spring 2017 Short Films!


Jane & the Wolf (9:45) FEATURED SHORT FILM!
Jane & the Wolf is a hybrid documentary that incorporates cinéma vérité, archival photographs and animation. In the 1960s, Pagwa River was a booming railroad town populated by 2nd generation Crees. During one cold winter, the community was being stalked by a lone wolf. Every attempt to kill the wolf failed. Jane recognized the wolf as a spirit sign from the ancestors. Ridiculed for her beliefs, Jane set out alone to killing the wolf using the old ways.

Narrated by Jane’s Great Granddaughter Rachel Garrick, Jane’s story is interwoven with Rachel’s own journey to bring her mother Minnie Garrick to her final resting place. Minnie was a story teller, a surviver, and a woman who reclaimed her life despite many personal challenges. Minnie had passed on the story of Jane to Rachel at a time in her life when Rachel most needed to hear about the strength that is inherent in their family.
Director: Nadine Arpin (Métis)

Water is Life (4:37)
An animated film that talks about the issue of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and their struggle to survive as they try to protect the water source into their small nation. Narrated by The Standing Rock Chairman.
Director: Joseph Erb (Cherokee Nation)

Mi Familia 2: Class Order Family Tribe (26:04)
Mi Familia 2: Class Order Family Tribe  is a silent, experimental documentary by Queer/Latino/Native American filmmaker Rob Fatal. The film is comprised entirely of 60 year old 8mm footage created by the filmmaker’s matrilineal Native American family as they struggled to survive poverty, racism, and boredom in 1960s Central California. Utilizing techniques of self authorship and camp pioneered by queer filmmaking pioneers like Marlon Riggs, Cheryl Dunye and Sadie Benning, Fatal inserts himself into the macabre and comedic film as a textual narrator in an effort to examine his family and his overlapping and differing generational strategies for survival and identity.
Director: Rob Fatal (Southern Plains Ute, Jirillica Apache)

Native Snaglines (4:52)
In the Native community, “snagging” is slang for picking up, or hooking up, with that special person you’ve had your eye on. In this short film, “What’s your best Snagline?”, is the question that’s posed to the local Indigenous community in Ottawa, resulting in fun and tantalizing responses.
Directors: Howard Adler & Charlotte Hoelke Anishinaabe (Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation, Canada)

Written In My Blood (3:02)
Written In My Blood is a collaborative film featuring choreography and performance by Aboriginal contemporary dancer Jeanette Kotowich (Cree Metis) accompanied by a remix by Dean Hunt from the Heiltsuk Nation. This film follows a young indigenous women’s transcendence through her contemporary practice through movement and breath.
Director: Steven Davies (Coast Salish-Snuneymuxw)

Vic leaves his marital problems behind and goes on a winery tour and on his journey he meets two children but are they real or imaginary? At the vineyard, THE WINEMAKER plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with Vic.  At the climax, THE WINEMAKER forces Vic to decide to save himself or the souls of the two children. Remember that #TheWinemakerknows
Director: Narsiesse Paul (Adams Lake Indian Band)

ZiLLA Z. DooGiN – So So What (OFFICIAL VIDEO) (2:21)
Music Video for Experimental Hip-Hop Artist, ZiLLA Z. DooGiN
Director: Zee Mathis (Cherokee Descent)

Sparrow Hawk (15:00)
When teenagers, Michael and Jessie Sparrow Hawk have a dirt bike accident  they must survive in the wilderness. Once found they begin their personal recovery. How will they recover and who will help them along the way?
Director: Roger Slagle (Paiute)

ôtênaw (40:00)
ôtênaw is a film documenting the oral storytelling of dwayne donald, an educator from edmonton alberta, canada. drawing from nêhiyawak philosophies, he speaks about the multilayered histories of indigneous peoples’ presence both within and around amiskwacîwâskahikan, or what has come to be known as the city of edmonton.
Director: Conor McNally (Métis)

Gripped (7:28)
A Father must overcome his fears in order to pass custom and tradition on to his Son.     Terry Jones, Govind Deecee
Director: Terry Jones (Seneca Nation of Indians)

Empire State (5:03)
This film shows invasion, war and occupation through the perspective of an Indigenous character. This film has no dialogue or narration and features wild onions, Iroquois white corn and a turtle rattle.
Directors: Terry Jones (Seneca Nation of Indians), Govind Deecee

Hearthless (4:00)
Hiraeth is a Welsh word that has no direct English translation, but some attempt to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed. It is a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness, or an earnest desire for the Wales of the past.    Homer’s Iliad describes a character that is in the worst imaginable position, known as the hearthless, lawless, stateless man; that there is nothing worse than to be outside the civic order of things. To be separated from people of one’s own kind; separated from laws and habitats of your people. At the same time, there’s something beautiful in observing this ‘other,’ making you feel thankful and privileged. In seeing parallels between this idea and the experience of leaving the small reservation communities or feeling alien in your own land, I created this video that embodies these concepts while also freeing the stereotypical Native American characters.
Directors: Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock and Hassanamisco-Nipmuc)

Konãgxeka: the Maxakali Flood (12:50)
Konãgxeka in the maxakali indigenous language means “big water”. It’s the maxakali version of the great flood. As a punishment because of selfishness and greed of men, the yãmîy spirits send the “big water”.

It is an indigenous film. One of the directors is representative of the Maxakali indigenous people in the state of Minas Gerais, southeast Brazil. The movie is in Maxakali language, with subtitles. The film’s argument is the myth of the flood by Maxakali people. The illustrations for the film were made by indigenous Maxakali during workshop held at Aldeia Verde (Maxakali Green Village).
Directors: Charles Bicalho and Isael Maxakali (Maxakali Barzailian)

I Am Thy Weapon (11:25)
A young Navajo woman comes home and returns to the place where she witnessed her older sister’s murder. Attempting to confront the tragedy, she tries to make peace while trying to stay away from the vandalistic past that killed her sister. Discovering she can’t escape who she is, she realizes that killing the trauma has nothing to do with violence.
Directed/Written by: Razelle Benally (Oglala Lakota/Diné)

Scoot Life (3:03)
“The scooter kids asked for a edit, so I made them one. I let them choose everything from music to lines preformed.”
Directed by: Dane Whiteman (Northern Arapaho)

Keep your eyes here for coming info on the Spring 2017 Program and Feature Film Announcement!



Laura Guzman (Stockbridge Munsee/Mexican); Photo property of FNFVF Inc.We are please to announce the venues for the Spring 2017 First Nations Film and Video Festival!


Tuesday, May 2: Opening Program! Claudia Cassidy Theater, 5pm – 7pm

Wednesday, May 3: The University of Wisconsin Parkside, Kenosha, WI, 7pm

Thursday, May 4: Mitchell Museum, 6pm – 7:30pm

Friday, May 5: DePaul University, To be announced!

Saturday, May 6: School of the Art Institute, 6pm – 9pm

Sunday: Claudia Cassidy Theater, 5pm – 7pm

Tuesday, May 9: UIC – Latino Cultural Center, 12:00n – 2pm

Wednesday May 10: The Beverly Arts Center, 7:30pm

Stay tuned for an announcement of the FNFVF films screening at these great spaces.

We look forward to seeing you there.


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 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