Indigenous Showcase: Sundance Native Lab Shorts

This event took place on Jan 15, 2016

$12 General Admission
$9 Student/Senior
$7 Member



Co-presented with Longhouse Media

Now in its 22nd year, Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program maintains a strong commitment to supporting Native and Indigenous filmmakers. The Native program has built and sustained a unique support cycle for Indigenous artists through grants, labs, mentorships, a fellowship program at the Sundance Film Festival, and screenings for Native communities to inspire new generations of storytellers. Currently operating programs in the United States, Canada, and formerly New Zealand and Australia, the Institute has established a rich legacy of work by supporting more than 300 Native and Indigenous filmmakers, including Taika Waititi, Sterlin Harjo, Billy Luther, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, Aurora Guerrero, Sydney Freeland and Yolanda Cruz.

In honor of the work produced by the Native American and Indigenous Program, Indigenous Showcase will feature a selection of shorts.

Film Program

Sikumi (On the Ice)
(Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, 15 min)

Sikumi (On the Ice) is the story of Apuna (Brad Weyiouanna), an Inuit hunter, who drives his dog team out on the frozen Artic Ocean in search of seals, but instead becomes a witness to murder. Shot entirely in the Iñupiaq (Eskimo) language.

Shimásání (Maternal Grandmother)
(Larry Blackhorse Lowe, 15 min)

In the late 1920’s on the serene Navajo reservation, Mary Jane spends her time daydreaming and tending to her family’s flock of sheep. Mary Jane lives under the ways and guidance of her Masani. When Mary Jane’s older sister Anne Mae flees from boarding school, she returns to the reservation with a world geography book. The images in the book reveal new worlds that are “just over the mountain.” Conflicted by her obedient nature and her curious imagination, Mary Jane must privately decide her own fate; whether to maintain her typical lifestyle alongside the sheep and Masani or to depart into the exotic unknowns of the world expressed on the pages of the book.

Gesture Down (I Don’t Sing)
(Cedar Sherbert, 10 min)

Gesture Down (I Don’t Sing) is a graceful and highly personal interpretation of the poem “Gesture Down to Guatemala” by the late Blackfeet/Gros Ventre writer James Welch. Taken from Mr. Welch’s acclaimed book RIDING THE EARTHBOY 40 (reprinted, Penguin, 2004) the poem is a starkly beautiful first-person rumination on place, longing and identity, themes of deep resonance for Cedar, who is descendent of (and sometimes estranged from) the La Huerta Indian community of northern Baja California, Mexico, which is where the majority of the film was shot.

Gesture Down was one of seven short films commissioned by celebrated author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie as part of a weekend-long tribute to James Welch held at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, WA.​

The Cave
(Helen Haig-Brown, 11 min)
Tsilhqot’in with English Subtitles

A hunter on horseback accidentally discovers a portal to the afterlife in this fantastical version of a true Tsilhqot’in story.

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