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Indigenous Film Festival Initiative 

The Indigenous Film Festival Initiative started by the Latin American Studies program will be to create connections and dialogue among students, scholars, and the public around Indigenous themes along the Americas and internationally. As many scholars, activists, artists, and community members are working around indigenous questions inside an indigenization paradigm, most of them hold the necessity to be immersed in very specific topics which sometimes prevent them to establish further connections. The Latin American Studies program at UC San Diego holds a strategic dimension where it sources itself from a large variety of faculties, thus many different perspectives as well as opening the door to Latin America. Despite modern Americas being more and more limited by its physical and intellectual borders, we aspire to create a safe space to exchange, reconnect, and honor indigeneity. It is also important to work with Indigenous and Native communities, local and abroad to ensure that a possible film festival reflects their concerns and interests and that it is organized in a responsible and respectful manner. We are actively looking to associate with organizations and community groups to promote this initiative and support outreach efforts within the community.

The Indigenous Film Festival Initiative towards the creation of an official Indigenous film festival in San Diego would be an important movement to support, celebrate and honor the culture and perspectives of Indigenous peoples as well as educate on Indigeneity, Native culture, American Indian and Native American Identities and more. Film festivals can be a powerful way to raise awareness among the public about the stories and perspectives of Indigenous and Native communities, as well as to promote cultural diversity and mutual understanding.

With the collaboration of the Suraj Israni Center for Cinematic Arts, the Intertribal Resource Center, and the Muestra Indigena from the Museo PreColombiano in Chile and the Office for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the Indigenous Film Festival Initiative is setting the stage for Indigenous culture within an indigenization movement here in San Diego. We are actively inviting more organizations to collaborate in this project.

With its ability to capture and deliver images, sounds, and stories in an immersive way, cinema is a high-powered medium able to evoke strong emotions and connections which can have a lasting impact on viewers. Cinema is a popular art and accessible medium that can reach audiences of all backgrounds, cultures, and origins and can facilitate academic discourses. While the darkroom is an ideal place to see, listen and feel in an intimate way, the medium of cinema is constantly evolving with new technologies and techniques. Creating connections through the medium of cinema is also an occasion to open ourselves to other forms of art and possibly create events around the same themes simultaneously.

Our goal is to reunite communities around ideas of Indigeneity and provoke various initiatives that can be linked together around a possible Indigenous Film Festival. Events such as workshops, symposiums, and activists’ reunions can meet at the same place and time to facilitate exchanges and reinforce dialogues among communities in the Americas and Internationally. With appropriate funding, programs can be built to help Indigenous/Native American/American Indian filmmakers and artists to produce work and access professional production material and facilities.

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Indigenous Film Festival funding goals

  • Invite filmmakers and present short and feature films about Indigeneity in the Americas and Internationally.
  • Create workshops for Indigenous/Native American/American Indian artists.
  • Offer grants for artistic projects around Indigeneity, Indigenous & Native culture.
  • Organize events, meetings, and talks for academics around Indigenous/Native American/American Indian culture and Indigenous/Native themes.


This program is supported in part by a co-sponsorship from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  Any views or opinions expressed in this program are solely those of the speaker(s) and/or organizer(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Office of the Vice Chancellor.