Sundance Institute at the Autry Presents Native Films

An American Indian Arts Marketplace Event
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Free Admission; Reservations Highly Recommended

Posted Sep 22, 2011

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Los Angeles, CA (September 22, 2011) — The Autry National Center and Sundance Institute announce today the creation of the Sundance Institute at the Autry Presents Native Films program, a new partnership that enables free public screenings of films created by emerging filmmakers from around the world with the support of the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program.  The inaugural screenings will take place on November 5 during the Autry’s American Indian Arts Marketplace weekend, which attracts over 160 American Indian contemporary artists to Los Angeles.

“The Autry is pleased to team up with Sundance Institute in support of their Native film program,” said Pamela Hannah, the Autry’s Director of American Indian Outreach and Programs. “Los Angeles is home to the largest urban Native American population in the country, and the Autry is committed to bringing quality Native American programming such as this for all to enjoy.”

“The underrepresentation of Native communities in film and television—both on-screen and behind-the-scenes—underscores the importance of creating opportunities to showcase work of this nature,” said N. Bird Runningwater, Director of the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program. “As a gathering point for Native artists and the general public, the Autry’s annual Marketplace event is an excellent opportunity to do so.”

The November 5 event kicks off with screenings of the short films Grab by Billy Luther (Navajo/Hopi/Laguna) and Shimásáni by Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo). A Q&A and light reception with the filmmakers will follow. Then settle in for a suspense-filled feature drama, On the Ice, by filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Inuit). The On the Ice screening will also include a Q&A with the filmmaker.

This event is free to the public. Reservations are highly recommended. RSVP to Pamela Hannah at 323.667.2000, ext. 230, or

Sundance Institute at the Autry Presents Native Films is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.

Sundance Institute at the Autry Schedule
Saturday, November 5

5:30 p.m.
Grab and Shímásáni
Short film screenings of Grab by Billy Luther and Shímásáni by Blackhorse Lowe,
followed by Q&A with the filmmakers

Written, produced, and directed by Billy Luther
60 minutes, Documentary
Grab is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below. A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks, and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures. Luther’s film follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives leading up to this day.

Directed by Blackhorse Lowe
15 minutes, Live Short
This narrative short, shot in 35mm black-and-white film, is taken from a story in Lowe’s grandmother’s life as a young woman in the 1930s. It won the 2010 SWAIA Indian Market’s Best of Show Award, the first time a film has won SWAIA’s top prize. The film also earned the award for Best Cinematography at the First Peoples’ Festival in Montreal and Best Narrative at the Marin County International Festival of Short Film + Video in San Rafael. Shímásání had its world premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and has been screened at many locations, including the Native Cinema Showcase, Sundance Film Festival, and the imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, where it received two Honorable Mentions.

7:00 p.m.
Reception with filmmakers

8:00 p.m.
On the Ice
A feature film written and directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean,
followed by Q&A with the filmmaker
TRT: 96 min. | USA | Language: English and Iñupiaq with English subtitles | Color | HDCAM
In the isolated, frozen town of Barrow, Alaska, Iñupiaq teenagers Qalli and Aivaaq have grown up like brothers in a tight-knit community defined as much by ancient traditions as by hip-hop and snowmobiles. Early one morning, on a seal hunt with their friend James, a tussle turns violent, and James is killed. Panic stricken, terrified, and with no one to blame but themselves, Qalli and Aivaaq lie and declare the death a tragic accident. As Barrow roils with grief and his protective father becomes suspicious, Qalli stumbles through guilt-filled days, wrestling with his part in the death. For the first time in his life, he’s treading alone on existential ice.

In this utterly engrossing, suspenseful feature-film debut by award-winning short filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, the snowy Arctic plains embody Qalli’s lost innocence, while the claustrophobic town mirrors his entrapment as he trudges through layers of deceit and the gauntlet of how to be a friend and a man.

About the American Indian Arts Marketplace Weekend
November 5–6, 2011
The Autry National Center presents a weekend-long celebration of Native American arts and culture centered around its annual American Indian Arts Marketplace. Featuring over 160 Native American artists selling their works of art in various mediums, the weekend will also host performances, children’s activities, documentary films by the Sundance Institute, a collector’s lecture, a panel discussion, book signings, and theatre by the Autry’s world-renowned theatre company, Native Voices at the Autry. For more information, visit

About the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program
Rooted in the recognition of a rich tradition of storytelling and artistic expression by Native American and Indigenous peoples, Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program operates the NativeLab Film Fellowship established for emerging Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian filmmakers. The program has also established filmmaker labs in New Zealand and Australia which have spawned such projects as The Strength of Water (New Zealand); Samson and Delilah (Australia), Bran Nue Dae (Australia), and Here I Am (Australia). The program also collaborates with the other artist programs of the Institute and scouts worldwide and across the United States for Indigenous artists with projects that can be supported through the Institute’s Feature Film Program, the Creative Producers Summit/Creative Producing Fellowship, and Sundance Film Festival. Filmmakers and projects identified for support include Sterlin Harjo, his Spirit Award–nominated Four Sheets to the Wind, and his follow-up feature Barking Water; Academy Award nominee Taika Waititi, his feature debut Eagle vs Shark, and his follow-up feature Boy; Billy Luther’s award-winning Miss Navajo and his second feature documentary Grab; and Andrew Okpeaha MacLean’s Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize–winning Sikumi and his feature debut On the Ice, which was awarded the Crystal Bear Award and the Best First Feature Prize at the 61st Berlinale. Forthcoming projects include Aurora Guerrero’s Mosquita y Mari; Sydney Freeland’s Drunktown’s Finest; and Yolanda Cruz’s La Raya.

About the Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers, and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born Into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza, and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About the Autry National Center
The Autry National Center, formed in 2003 by the merger of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and the Women of the West Museum, is an intercultural history center dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West. Located in Griffith Park, the Autry’s collection of over 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts, which includes the collection of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, is one of the largest and most significant in the United States. The Autry Institute includes two research libraries: the Braun Research Library and the Autry Library. Exhibitions, public programs, K–12 educational services, and publications are designed to examine the contemporary human condition through the lens of the historical Western experience and explore critical issues in society.

Weekday hours of operation for the Autry National Center’s museum at its Griffith Park location are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Autry Store’s weekday hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Autry Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours for the museum and the store are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The museum, the store, and the cafe are closed on Mondays. The libraries are open to researchers by appointment.

Museum admission is $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors 60+, $4 for children ages 3–12, and free for Autry members, veterans, and children age 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.

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