Native POP Partners with Vision Maker Media for Film Festival

Posted by Fritz Miller on

The third annual Native Film Showcase returns to Rapid City, South Dakota, Saturday, July 21, as part of Native POP. Native POP: People of the Plains - A Gathering of Arts and Culture is a Native art market and cultural celebration and is a free annual event in the heart of downtown Rpaid City.

This year Native POP partners with Vision Maker Media, who is curating the film selections, and with SDPB to host the event. The film festival, located at the SDPB Black Hills Studio, 415 Main Street, will include documentaries of regional interest, as well as an opportunity for local filmmakers to show music videos, short films and works in progress. Native POP takes place on Main Street Square, 526 Main Street. The SDPB Black Hills Studio is a block away, just east of 5th St, across from the VFW. Screenings start at 9 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. and members of the public are invited to join the event in person.

The Black Hills premiere of Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian at 4 p.m. will feature a panel discussion with the filmmakers in attendance. This documentary follows Kate Beane, a young Dakota woman, as she examines the extraordinary life of her celebrated relative, Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa). Biography and journey come together as Kate traces Eastman’s path—from traditional Dakota boyhood, through education at Dartmouth College, and in later roles as physician, author, lecturer and Native American advocate.

“Vision Maker Media is excited to bring these great films to Rapid City,” said Shirley Sneve, Executive Director for Vision Maker Media, “The SDPB Studio will be the perfect place to watch these stories about the People of the Plains. I’m looking forward to seeing the excellent variety of arts that Native POP is known for.”

Native POP executive director Peter Strong says, “We are thrilled to work with Vision Maker Media and SDPB for this year's film showcase, as we continue to strengthen and expand the reach of our event that elevates the work of Native artists from the Great Plains. Our organizations strive to build community and dialogue through the empowerment and presentation of the voices, visual expression, and cultural practices of Native people. We expect our impact to be multiplied through this partnership and their incredible work making this year’s film showcase a success.”

Vision Maker Media empowers and engages Native People to tell stories. We envision a world changed and healed by understanding Native stories and the public conversations they generate. Vision Maker Media works with Native producers to develop, produce and distribute programs for all media. VMM supports training to increase the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives producing quality public broadcasting programs. A key strategy for this work is the development of strong partnerships with tribal nations, Indian organizations and Native communities. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native produced media that shares Native perspectives with the world.

Native POP: People of the Plains - A Gathering of Arts and Culture is a one-day, juried Native American fine art market featuring original work by established and emerging Native visual artists focusing on Great Plains culture. Native POP is also a cultural celebration with performances, demonstrations, culture bearers, the third annual Native fashion show and concert. This is the sixth year for the free and family-friendly annual event that will take place on Saturday, July 21 from 9am-8pm at Main Street Square. The art market runs 9am-6pm and the concert follows immediately after from 6pm-8pm. Visitors will have the opportunity to buy artwork directly from the artists. Native POP recognizes artistic achievement at a ticketed artist awards reception on Friday, July 20 at the Dahl Arts Center. The Friday evening event offers entertainment, refreshments, a sneak peek at the market’s premiere art, and a chance to meet and visit with the artists.

SDPB is the statewide network delivering PBS, NPR and local content to South Dakota and surrounding states.

Festival Schedule:

9 a.m. Badger Creek (26:40): What does it take for a contemporary Native family to thrive on their reservation? Badger Creek is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the reservation in Montana. The loving and sober Momberg family members run a successful ranch, live a traditional worldview and are relearning their language. This half-hour documentary is a portrait of a Blackfeet (Pikuni) family, the Mombergs, who live on the lower Blackfeet Reservation in Montana near the banks of Badger Creek. In addition to running a prosperous ranch, they practice a traditional Blackfeet cultural lifestyle, which sustains and nourishes them.

 9:45 a.m. Columbus Day Legacy (26:46): Columbus Day Legacy explores tensions and contradictions between Native and Italian‐American participants in the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver, Colorado. This very personal yet public conflict is visualized through hard questions about the freedom of speech, the interpretation of history and what it means to be an "American."

10:30 a.m. Spirit in Glass (26:46) This documentary celebrates the spectacular beadwork of the Northwest Plateau People. The film provides a rare opportunity to experience Plateau culture through the eyes and hearts of artists, who share their history, motivation, and the beadwork that plays an important role in binding their culture together. Native Plateau beadwork is part of the rich tapestry of American culture. Plateau culture is unique and its story of survival a quintessentially American story.

11 a.m. In the Beginning Was Water and Sky (14:00): In the Beginning was Water and Sky is a haunting fairy-tale drama that blends the horrors of fantasy and real life historical events. The short film follows a Native American girl in the 1700s and a Native American boy in the 1960s who are both trying to find their way back to a home that has been taken from them.

Leo Yankton: Redemption Story (10:00): Story about how Leo Yankton (Oglala Sioux) changed his life around from having a troubled past and growing up on the Pine Ridge reservation to being an international speaker. Leo contributed in efforts to protect the water on the Standing Rock reservation, and continues to find ways to have a positive impact within Native Country and the rest of the world.

11:45 a.m. Return to Rainy Mountain (26:46):Return to Rainy Mountain tells the story of N. Scott Momaday. It is a personal account of his life and legacy told in his own voice, and in the voice of his daughter Jill. Momaday speaks of his Kiowa roots, family, literature, oral tradition, nature, identity, and the sacred and important things that have shaped his life. This biographical film explores the life of poet and author N. Scott Momaday, raised by his Kiowa father and Cherokee mixed-blood mother on Indian reservations in New Mexico and Arizona, who was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, Academy of American Poets Prize, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, National Medal of Arts and election into the Kiowa Gourd Dance Clan.

12:30 p.m. Across the Creek (26:46): Across the Creek explores both the unbridled dreams and the painful reality of Lakota people from South Dakota. In the face of unfathomable challenges, they are taking steps to better their lives. “It’s still here.” That’s the assurance of Lakota elder Albert White Hat that the spirituality, songs and power of Lakota people are fully present today. “It’s still here,” he says again, for emphasis. These words seem at odds with appearances on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations, with their broken-down villages, deadly addictions and the sense of hopelessness. In Across the Creek, everyday heroes are turning around negative history and reclaiming traditional stories, visions and core values that once effectively guided healthy, productive tribal life. With few visible examples of positive action, the most powerful strategy is just walking the talk. Or, put another way, by crossing the creek.

1:30 p.m. Sundance Shorts

2:30 p.m. Local Shorts/Open Mic

4 p.m. Ohiyesa: The Soul of an Indian (56:00) This documentary follows Kate Beane, a young Dakota woman, as she examines the extraordinary life of her celebrated relative, Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa). Biography and journey come together as Kate traces Eastman’s path—from traditional Dakota boyhood, through education at Dartmouth College, and in later roles as physician, author, lecturer and Native American advocate.

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