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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Ernest M Whiteman III (Northern Arapaho)