Storytelling on Film

Storytelling on Film: Convening an Industry

So how do Native film festivals like imagineNATIVE maintain their success within an industry that is continuously growing? imagineNATIVE created its own structure, a sort of DNA that helps continue the success of the festival. “Success as an organization is our adherence to the original mandate that Cynthia and others helped instill within the structure of imagineNATIVE,” says Ryle. “An imagineNATIVE DNA, is to be an Indigenous artist focused festival, to present the works of Indigenous artists and their screen culture, their visions and creativity on the screen, rather than one that’s programmed solely on content.”

As for the future of Native and Indigenous cinema, Ryle says, “Over the past 10 years these artists are creating such a huge body of work that you and I never had growing up. If you look at our nieces and nephews, what this is going to leave them is incredibly profound, not just them too, but non-native kids as well. I mean this is something that just never existed before. And I'm really excited how that will inspire generations of filmmakers and storytellers, but how that will really impact the fabric of our society.”

Cynthia Benitez is a film curator and scholar specializing in Native and indigenous film. She is currently the Film Programmer for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. Theresa Barbaro also contributed.