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The Lakota Film Festival
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Lakota Film Fest

Now in it's third year at the Inland Theater in Martin, South Dakota, the Lakota Film Festival offers a chance to see Lakota stories in a true movie-house venue. Many of the films and videos in the lineup were produced by Lakota filmmakers. All of the works feature Lakota stories and lands. Some of the films are in the Lakota language.

The film festival is run by the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), an education and research organization based in Martin on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Dr. Craig Howe, CAIRNS Director, says the films vary in length and subject, and offer a Lakota perspective on all sorts of topics, from skateboarding on the reservation to family life to complex social issues.

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Tyler Young, Lakota Film Festival coordinator, expects about 200 people to attend the 2016 event, about the same as last year. There are 32 entries in what Young calls a mix of feature length films, promos, trailers, and documentaries.

"There's a lot of creative output of Lakota filmmakers and Lakota actors and we just try to capture a bit of that every year," Young said.

Films are shown in four two-hour sessions from morning through evening. Many of the films are award winners and a few have been screened at overseas festivals.

Molli Cameron is one of the award-winning filmmakers showing her work with the Lakota Film Festival audience. Cameron wrote, directed and edited a feature length film, "Lakota Girls." The film tells the contemporary story of a young Lakota girl sent from the reservation to live with a white family while her parents are in the hospital. She meets a girl her own age and the two slowly discover that they have more in common than they thought. A subplot involving a romance between a white woman and a Native man during the 1910s is drawn from Cameron's own family history.

Cameron made her film for a family audience. She'd like to see more films about the positive and nuturing side of Lakota family life and of Lakota communities overall.


Trailer for Lakota Girls 4-18-2016 from Mollianne Cameron on Vimeo.

Here are some of the films from the Festival