7th Native Spirit Film Festival 12–19 October 2013
The Film and Video Festival of
SOAS School of Oriental & African Studies (Main Bldg)
Thornhaugh St off Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
Programme may be subject to changes – Please check for latest updates
Arrive early to ensure a seat – entry by Donation at door £5-10
OPENING WEEKEND DEDICATED TO MAYAN & MEXICA PEOPLES
SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER (G2 Lecture Theatre)
7.10pm OPENING DANCE CEREMONY
Atlachinolli are a group of Mexica (Aztec) dancers based in London who bring a reminder to us all that the Native people of Tenochtitlan are still alive and well: “We do not live in the past and do not live in the basement of a museum either”. They will share some Mexica dances to also remind us of something very important… showing respect to the elements that sustain life. link to aztecworkshops
Chanantskua is characterized as the result of a syncretism of practical and symbolic elements from different cultures, such as: Indigenous P’urhépecha, European and African. It represents a unique symbolic space that meets both social and practical functions such as initiation of young adulthood, finding a partner, the soil fertility and social cohesion. For better or worse, this rite is not part of the cultural center that the Michoacán State promotes.
Dir. José Carlos Macouzet / 2013 / P´urecpecha, Mexico / 24′
Q&A José Carlos Macouzet, Eduardo Macouzet (Producer), Pedro Ponce (co-Producer)
8.30pm UK PREMIERE: HEART OF SKY HEART OF EARTH
“It is quite possible our great corporations will succeed in finishing Nature off … and expel the Indigenous from their lands. On the other hand, resistance is growing. Many young Maya say the world will not go under. It will start anew, but we all have to fight for it, here and now. If one is searching for impressive evidence of this tenacious determination, Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth is it.”
Dir. Eric Black, Frauke Sandig / 2011 / Maya, Guatemala & Mexico / 98′ View Trailer – contact Directors
Q&A Kevin O’Dell, Guatemala Solidarity Network
SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER (G2 Lecture Theatre)
There is a place between the mountains of Honduras where rituals and prayers mark the passage of time. An elder woman walks barefoot in the mountain. A man dies accompanied by an angel. Spirits are the voice of ancestors and the courage of a small Indigenous community that will rather take care of the Earth than sell it.
Dir. Yukai Ebisuno, Raffaella Mantegazza / 2012 / Honduras / 24′ View Trailer
8.30pm UK PREMIERE: 2012 THE MAYAN WORD
2012 The Mayan Word brings us the voices of the Mayan people as they share their perspectives on the prophesies of their ancestors, their fight to defend Mother Earth and their culture from destruction. This film is an extraordinary journey into the heart of Mayan struggle and spirituality – A message of hope and a call to action.
Dir. Melissa Gunasena / 2012 / Maya (Tzutu’jil, Lacandon). Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize & Honduras / 64′ View Trailer – contact Director
Q&A Dr Genner Llanes-Ortiz (Postdoctoral researcher ‘Indigeneity in the Contemporary World: Politics, Performance, Belonging’ Royal Holloway University of London)
MONDAY 14 OCTOBER (Room 116)
7.15pm NUTSHIMIT – ON THE LAND
Nutshimit tells the present-day story of one of the last semi-nomadic hunting people of Canada, the Mushuau Innu of Labrador. The Mushuau Innu themselves commissioned the film for their children and coming generations of Innu to create a visual legacy of their continuing life on the land., which they call Nutshimit. The Innu teenagers Becca, Sage, Todd and Pinip are staying at different hunting camps with their families. Their adventures and conversations with their grandparents weave an intimate and profound portrait of a people whose survival, history and worldview is intertwined with the land, the animals, the plants and the spirit world. Only between the lines, the presence of another, a threatening society becomes tangible.
Dir. Sarah Sandring / 2012 / Mushuau Innu, Canada / 51′ Nirgun Films – contact Director
Q&A Dr. Colin Samson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, long-time Activist for Innu rights and Delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations (2004), Author of ‘A World You Do Not Know: Settler Societies, Indigenous Peoples and the Attack on Cultural Diversity’
8.30pm UESHKAT INNIUM (IN DAYS GONE BY)
Innu Elder Mani Aster tells how the ancestral gestures that she knows so well might very well disappear with her. The portrait of a woman and of society.
Dir. Nemnemiss McKenzie / 2012 / Innu, Canada / 5′
8.40pm STATUS AND TRENDS IN ARTIC BIODIVERSITY
The film addresses the current environmental situation in the Arctic, and ongoing pressures on its ecosystems. Particular emphasis is placed on the new set of challenges and stressors brought about by climate change and the increase of industrial activities in the region. Winner of 2013 Documentary Award at the annual Green Lens Environmental Film Festival.
Dir. Lawrence Hislop / 2013 / Saami, Russian. Iceland & Norway / 21′ learn about GRID-Arendal’s Polar Programme
8.55pm ALUNA THE MOVIE
Aluna is made by and with the KOGI, a genuine lost civilization hidden on an isolated triangular pyramid mountain in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, nearly five miles high, on the Colombian-Caribbean coast. The Kogi say that without thought, nothing could exist. This is a problem, because we are not just plundering the world, we are dumbing it down, destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence. The Kogi believe that they live in order to care for the world and keep its natural order functioning, but they recognized some years ago that this task was being made impossible by our mining and deforestation. In 1990 they emerged to work with Alan Ereira, making a 90-minute film for BBC1 in which they dramatically warned of our need to change course. Then they withdrew again…
But now the Kogi have summoned Alan Ereira back to say that we did not actually listen to what they said. We are incapable of being changed by being spoken to. They now understand that we learn through our eyes, not our ears. In the face of the approaching apocalypse, they have asked Ereira to make a film with them which will take the audience on a perilous journey into the mysteries of their sacred places to change our understanding of reality.
Dir. Alan Ereira / 2012 / Kogi, Colombia / 86′ View Trailer
Q&A Alan Ereira Click here to learn about Tairona Trust
TUESDAY 15 OCTOBER (Room 116)
6.30pm Tony White plays Didgeridoo
7.15pm 10 CANOES
A story within a story. In Australia’s Northern Territory, a man tells us one of the stories of his people and his land. It’s a story of an older man, Minygululu, who has three wives and realizes that his younger brother Dayindi may try to steal away the youngest wife. So, over a few days and several trips to hunt and gather, Minygululu tells Dayindi a story set in the time of their ancestors when a stranger came to the village and disrupted the lives of a serious man named Ridjimiraril, his three wives, and his younger brother Yeeralparil who had no wife and liked to visit his youngest sister-in-law. Through stories, can values be taught and balance achieved?
Dir. Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr / 2006 / Yoignu, Australia / 90′
Q&A Sue Darling, Louise Jefferson (ENIAR European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights) and Francis Firebrace (Yorta Yorta Nation)
9.10pm CANNING PARADISE
All problems start when mankind loses its connection with the land. Capitalism’s fury is unleashed over Papua New Guinea after the European Union strikes a deal with the country to allow canned tuna from Papua New Guinea to enter into the Union, Duty and quota free. The result is ruthless foreign investment and an environmental and social disaster for the impacted tribes.
Dir. Olivier Pollet / 2012 / Tok Pisin, Papua New Guinea / 90′ View Trailer
9.40pm REFLECTIONS (G2 Theatre)
Filmed in Papua New Guinea, this short experimental film attempts to capture the innocence of people looking at their reflection, perhaps for the very first time.
Dir. David Fedele / 2012 / Papua New Guinea / 5′
9.45pm BIKPELA BAGARAP (Big Damage) (G2 Theatre)
David’s film reveals the human face of logging in Papua New Guinea – a tale of exploitation and broken promises, where local people are treated as second-rate citizens in their own country by Malaysian logging companies and corrupt politicians. Customary landowners are forced into signing documents they don’t understand, for the promise of “development” – fresh water, health and education, but these essential services are rarely provided. Instead, their traditional hunting grounds are destroyed, waterways polluted, and their way of life ruined forever.
Dir. David Fedele / 2011 / Papua New Guinea / 43′ View Trailer – contact Director
Q&A David Fedele
WEDNESDAY 16 OCTOBER (Room 116)
Calling on the spirit of the thunderbird, a lone man must transform into a mighty warrior to battle an unspeakable evil force which threatens his territory.
Dir. Abraham Cote / 2013 / Algonquin, Canada / 5′
7.20pm YELLOW FEVER: UNCOVERING THE NAVAJO URANIUM LEGACY
Yellow Fever follows young Navajo veteran, Tina Garnanez on her journey to investigate the history of the Navajo Uranium Boom, its lasting impacts in her area and the potential new mining in her region. Tina travels throughout the West to learn about uranium mining and nuclear development. She examines the pros, the cons and the hot debate over Nuclear power, which forces her to consider her own opinions on the subject of energy is nuclear power the answer to global warming?
Dir. Sophie Rousmaniere / 2013 / Dine’ (Navajo), USA / 57′ View Trailer – contact Director
Q&A Sophie Rousmaniere (Skype link permitting)
8.30pm WE CAN’T EAT GOLD
Living off the land for over 350 generations, Alaska Natives defend the world’s largest salmon runs against the impacts of the world’s largest gold mine, the proposed Pebble Mine which President Obama and the EPA can rule on permitting this year. Watch families fish, prepare and smoke salmon traditionally as we open a space for tribal elders and youth to share their ways of life… hear stories about the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations, which they depend on for survival. Winner of Triangle Award at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival.
Dir. Joshua Tucker / 2013 / Alaska / 46′ View Trailer – contact Director
Q&A Panel Bobby Andrew (Nunamta Aulukestai Spokesman), Joshua Tucker, Thomas Tilden
10.30pm THE SACRED PLACE WHERE LIFE BEGINS: GWICH’IN WOMEN SPEAK
Women of the Gwich’in Nation speak out to protect what they call ‘The Sacred Place where Life Begins’ from oil development. Also know as the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, The Gwich’in way of life depends on this sacred land, and the women share their unique perspectives on this environmental issue.
Dir. Miho Aida / 2013 / Gwich’in, Alaska / 20′ View Trailer – contact Director
10.50pm BLOCKUS 138
Dir. Real Junior Leblanc /2012 / Innu, Canada / 8′
THURSDAY 17 OCTOBER (Room 116)
7.15pm YOUNG LAKOTA
Young Lakota follows three young people on the Pine Ridge Reservation during a tumultuous political season that hinges on reproductive rights and tribal sovereignty. Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalising abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.
Dir. Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt / 2013 / Lakota, USA / 82′ View Trailer
Q&A Shunkaha Wanagiwin, Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge, talks about life as a Lakota woman
9.00pm DEATH OF DWARFS
An animation based upon an Arapaho Native Legend pertaining to the end of the existence of cannibalistic dwarfs of long ago.
Dir. Christiana Latham / 2013 / Arapaho, Canada / 5′
9.05pm WAPIKONI MOBILE – FIRST NATIONS FILM SHORTS
CONNECTING THE CHALKBOARD
On a blank chalkboard, youth from Manawan rewrite the stories of their lives
Dir. Ensemble pour le respect de la diversité / 2012 / Atikame, Canada / 5′
WISH UPON A STAR
A mother, slot machines and her lucky star.
Dir. Russel Ratt / 2012 / Canada / 6′
“And since is it useful, it is truly beautiful” A visual treatment of The Little Prince quote by Saint-Eupery.
Dir. Elisa Moar, Marie-Pier, Meky Ottawa / 2012 / Canada / 2′
By going with the flow we accept our lives more easily. Acceptance brings freedom. A film made entirely by projecting images on water.
Dir. Kevin Papatie / 2012 / Algonquin, Canada / 4′
With a background song dedicated to the Creator, the painter Ernest ‘Aness’ Dominique expresses through his work the history of his people.
Dir. Ernest Aness Dominique / 2012 / Innu, Canada / 4′
9.30pm THE MOSUO SISTERS
A tale of two spirited sisters living in the shadow of two Chinas. Juma and Latso, young women from one of the world’s last remaining matriarchal societies, are thrust into the worldwide economic downturn when they lose their jobs in Beijing. Left with few options, they return home to their remote village in the foothills of the Himalayas. But home is no longer what it was, as growing exposure to the modern world irreparably alters the provocative traditions of the Mosuo. Determined to keep their family out of poverty, one sister sacrifices her dream of an education and stays home to farm, while the other leaves to try her luck in city—changes in fortune that test each sister in unexpected ways.
Dir. Marlo Poras / Mosuo, Tibetan, Mandarin. China / 2012 / 80′ View Trailer – contact Director
FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER (Room 116)
THREE FILMS FROM TAIWAN INDIGENOUS TV
6.15pm DREAM OF THE FLYING TATALA
When the rest of Taiwan are preparing to celebrate Taiwan’s Centennial, Indigenous people of a far-away island are also anticipating a challenging journey. Si Mangavang – a newly made balangay – carries the well-wishes of the Tao people to Taiwan. This vessel embodies the wisdom of the Tao elders – the bravery of the men – the hopes of the women – and the pride of the youth. Marong often sits at the shore and imagines a world full of adventure. Characters from fables are companions on his adventures. Following the voyage of Si Mangavang – Marong’s magical journey begins.
Dir. Dami-Lafing / 2011 / Tao, Taiwan / 60′
7.20pm MILLETS BACK HOME
Special 3′ video message from Director Sayun Simung for Native Spirit audience
Yaki (Grandmother in Tayal language) Yabon is the eldest in the Sqoyaq Village. The story starts from Yaki Yabon, who is sowing the millets with the memory, and then she recovers the traditional culture. Three different families in the village weave a touching story, but pulling each other constantly with the social reality of ‘home’ and ‘loss of the traditional culture’.
Dir. Sayun Simung / 2013 / Tayal, Taiwan / 72′ View Trailer
Q&A Chia-Wen Liu and Quake Hsu
8.45pm THE CRYING BAMBOO FOREST
One man’s journey learning from his father, passing down Tayal traditions to the next generation. After losing his homeland, he lived in hopelessness and eventually hardens like a vine to live like a strong Tayal. The story shows how one can use the optimism of Indigenous peoples to face adversity.
Dir. Umin Boya / 2011 / Tayal, Taiwan / 78′ Taiwan Indigenous TV
10:10pm PRINCESS FALLS (EL SALTO DE LA PRINCESA)
Eleonore travels to the south of Chile with her boyfriend Martin, looking for her roots. Guided by Lincoyan, a young man from the area, she will experience They walk into a dense forest, and begin to take pictures. Suddenly, they meet Lincoyan who offers to guide them. The deeper they get, the stranger Eleonore begins to act. Will she make it out of the forest alive?
Dir. Joy Penroz / 2012 / Mapuche, Chile / 20′
SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER (KLT Khalili Lecture Theatre)
7.15pm AMAZON SOULS
At the age of 21, Sarah Begum, A British-born Bengali girl realised the ambition of a lifetime when she went to live with the Huaorani tribe deep in the Amazon rainforest and immersed herself in their way of life. This is the film she made of her extra-ordinary experience.
Dir. Sarah Begum / 2013 / Huaorani, Huao Terero. Ecuador / 30′ View Trailer – contact Director
Q&A Sarah Begum
8.00pm CHILDREN OF THE JAGUAR (Los Descendientes del Jaguar)
An Indigenous community in the Amazon Jungle takes on the combined might of the government and an oil company in order to save their way of life and the rainforest they live in. Their 10-year fight is now leading them to leave the jungle and their country to seek an historic ruling that could impact not just their future but that of the planet.
Dir. Eriberto Gualinga / 2012 / Sarayaku, Kichwa. Ecuador / 30′ View Trailer
Q&A Mariano Machain (co-Producer), Amnesty International
9.00pm AWA: EARTH’S MOST THREATENED TRIBE
/ 2011 / Awa, Brazil / 5′ Survival International
9.30pm THE KALASHA AND THE CRESCENT
The Kalash of Northern Pakistan’s Chitral valley uphold a rich cultural heritage that is at odds with Pakistan’s dominant Islam. Today, even as the community bears the combined pressures of poverty, tourism, and Islamism, a dedicated group of Kalash advocates are fighting to keep their culture alive. Can Kalash traditions withstand the challenges brought by globalisation on the one hand and by religious tensions on the other? Director Lara Lee’s new short film, The Kalasha and the Crescent brings together members of the Kalash community and observers from around the world as they reckon with these tough questions.
Dir. Lara Lee / 2013 / Kalash, Pakistan / 13′
9.45pm THE RAPE OF THE SAMBURU
For more than fifty years, England has maintained military training facilities in the Samburu region of its former colony, Kenya. During this period, women in the area have faced an epidemic of rape. Women from the Samburu, Massai, Rendile and Turkana Indigenous communities have filed more than 600 official rape claims against British soldiers. Yet, despite documentation of their claims, a three-year internal investigation by the Royal Military Police (RMP) cleared all soldiers of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the victims have been shamed and outcast in their communities, many to the point of exile. In the mid-1990s, Beatrice Chili responded to this situation by establishing the village of Senchen, a self-sufficient community run entirely by women. There, women build homes, weave textiles, gather and grow food, and raise children. This short film visits the brave women of Senchen, who speak candidly about their suffering and talk passionately about their demands for justice. Watch the film to hear their stories and to find out how you can offer your support.
Dir. Lara Lee / 2011 / Samburu, Kenya / 13′
10pm BATTLE FOR THE XINGU
The Xingu, a tributary of the Amazon, is home to over 10,000 Indigenous people who rely on the river for survival. The Brazilian government, however, keen to develop the region, is proposing what would be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam, threatening to destroy the biodiversity of the Xingu River basin and deprive these people of their rights to a sustainable future.
Dir. Lara Lee / 2009 / Brazil / 21′
13 MOONS SCREENING
SUNDAY 20 OCTOBER (KLT Khalili Lecture Theatre)
Bridgewalkers takes us on a quest exploring ancient indigenous knowledge as a solution to our environmental, social and economic world crisis of today. From Greenland to Canada and through the Americas, we delve deeply into the prophecies and visions of Indigenous Spiritual Leaders, Elders and shamans that help us awaken our hearts, heal our wounds and rekindle our spirits. Through a cinematic tapestry of ceremonies, prayers and sacred teachings, the audience is able to reconnect with Mother Earth, Creator and ultimately our own deepest hearts.
Dir. Kara Rhodes / 2011 / USA / 73′