Native American Film Festival

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Posted by Ayesha on December 01, 1999 at 10:31:27:

Hi Everyone,

This is the first time I have had to post our Film Festival experience.

This year was one of the best in all of our years of attendance. The awards show was video taped. The video will be available some time at the beginning of 2000. I will let everyone know. As I posted above, one of the beautiful highlights was the speech given by Nathan Lee Chasing Horse.

Rodney Grant was also there. He is such a beautiful being and is extremely talented. I hope he will be given many more chances to be in film, so his talent can be used to it's fullest potential. He has a great sense of humor. He is also alive and well on the net. He has a web site up and he chats on his board with all of his fans. He seems to be soooooo full of life and plenty of "good stuff"!! I believe that Annie's site has a link to his message board.

One of the documentary films shown was called Alcatraz in Not an Island. This was such a great documentary and it won the award in that catagory. The contact name and address for this film is:

Diamond Island Productions
1129 Manzanita Dr.
Pacifica, CA 94044
Fax 415-5613033

If they have the video available, I highly recommend trying to obtain it. I believe that the administrators of the Film Festival are creating a film library of all productions that have been done since the 1970's. I will keep everyone posted, as I find out what is happening.

The film that won the award for "Best Film" of the year is called UNBOWED. This provocative story of forbidden love between a spirited Black student, CLEOLA, and WAKA MANI, a defiant Indian Warrior, is set against the rigid society of the American South in the late 1890's, a generation after the Civil War. Based on historic events, UNBOWED bring the story of forcing Indians into "Negro" schools to the screen for the first time.

Cleola, passing as a wealthy orphan, is engaged to the most affluent student at Beckwourth College. Three Lakota prisoners-of-war are dragged to the elite "Negro" College, forced to cut their hair and don "white man's" clothes.

Waka Mani awakens a passion in Cleola that is absent with Richard. When her mother dies, she can tell only Waa Mani the truth - her mother was born a slave and worked at the local laundry to send Cleola to school so she could "marry a man like Richard". For the first time, the proud Waka Mani shares his pain of being the only surviving member of his family. He knows "the fighting is over" and his people have lost. When Junius, a bright African American student who served in the Calvary and hates "savages", threatens to expose their passion, they must flee to an uncertain future or live apart forever.

More than a passionate love story, UNBOWED confronts racism through the eyes of African and Native Americans. There are only two Caucasian characters, but the dramatic impact of white dominance and forced assimilation is pervasive.

This is a short synopsis of the story. We absolutely loved it!!! I hope it will find distribution so you all can see it. On the eveing it showed, the actors were present, as well as the director/producer of the film. The integritiy and motivation behind the film were so inspiring. Just in case it does not make it into the mass market, here is the address of the film's producers.

1722 1/2 Whitley Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028

Collin and I attended the Festival over a 4 night period of time. There were many other documentaries and films shown. It would take many pages to describe all of the highlights! The other major film that was shown, was GREY OWL. We loved the film!!!!! But like Unbowed, it may never get a U.S. distribution. I hope that these films will, at the very least, make it to the video screen, so that everyone here can have the wonderful and enriching experience these films have brought to us.

All the best,


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