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Native Film at the Festival

As part of Sundance Institute's long tradition of supporting Native cinema, the Sundance Film Festival provides a world stage for compelling and innovative films by Native American and Indigenous filmmakers. The Festival also hosts the annual Native Forum—a hub for the international Indigenous film community, and a program of panel discussions, filmmaker discussions, and networking events that provide opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers to share their expertise and knowledge with each other and the larger independent film community. Sundance-Ford Fellows also participate in the Native Forum and in networking and pitching sessions hosted at Sundance Industry Meetings (SIM).

From 1994-2004, the Festival presented Native films as part of a dedicated screening category. In 2004, the Native Forum was officially retired as an official section of the Sundance Film Festival, representing Native cinema's place on the broader cultural map. In recognition of the evolution of Native filmmaking and as a way of introducing a broader audience to Native cinema, the Festival began incorporating Native and Indigenous films into its official film program in 2005.

Over the course of its history, the Sundance Film Festival has showcased a range of work by Native and Indigenous filmmakers—including dramatic films like Sterlin Harjo's Four Sheets to the Wind and Barking Water, Sherman Alexie's The Business of Fancydancing, Chris Eyre's Smoke Signals, Rachel Perkins' One Night the Moon and Bran Nue Dae, Taika Waititi's Eagle Vs. Shark and Boy; documentaries like Heather Rae's Trudell, Billy Luther's Miss Navajo, and Merata Mita's Hotere; and short films like Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's Sikumi and Blackhorse Lowe's Shimasani.