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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the UCLA American Indian Studies Center present

Imagining Indigenous Cinema: New Voices, New Visions

Mixed media art.
June 2, 2023 -
June 18, 2023
filmmakers Fox Maxy (6/2; 6/4), Christopher Kahunahana (6/3), Blackhorse Lowe (6/3), Tiare Ribeaux (6/10), Zack Khalil (6/9, 6/11), Sky Hopinka (6/18).

Pictured above: artwork by River Garza.

In the post-Standing Rock era of increased Native visibility, Indigenous artists influenced by personal backgrounds and intergenerational experiences are creating an explosive awakening. Bursting with thought-provoking and genre-defying explorations, Imagining Indigenous Cinema: New Voices, New Visions spotlights a generation of innovative, Indigenous filmmakers working with the moving image today.

In recent years, a shift in on-screen narratives has moved beyond the need to prove Indigenous survival and existence to films that challenge prior rhetoric. This new era of filmmakers shifts the needle from a reactionary storytelling practice towards proactive methods of world-building. Themes of post-colonial resilience, re-matriation of cultures and traditions, explorations of land-based relationships, criticism of the institutional and socio-political settler state and celebrations of Indigenous queer joy are exhibited in vibrant embodiments of time-based art. By crafting narratives that center their own stories and culture, these filmmakers establish new forms of Indigenous cinematic expression and envision Indigenous futures. Their work offers inspiring new possibilities that resist dominant representations and actively Indigenize the medium.

Imagining Indigenous Cinema features over 40 films playing over the course of three weekends in June, where screenings will be accompanied by filmmaker discussions and panels. Fracturing conventional constraints of form and story, this program showcases short and feature-length film and video work made by Indigenous artists creating on and with the land base currently known as the United States and the Indigenous Nations within.

The program is bookended by a masterclass with artist Fox Maxy (Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians and Payómkawish) and a retrospective screening and conversation with Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation/Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians). Additional confirmed in-person participants include Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo Nation) and Christopher Kahunahana (Kanaka Maoli, Native Hawaiian).

Screenings will take place at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum and at the Eagle Theatre, the home of Vidiots Foundation, as well as livestreamed on June 10, 17 and 18. Vidiots Foundation is dedicated to inspiring human interaction around film and media through preserving, growing and providing access to its diverse DVD, Blu-ray and rare VHS collection, and producing memorable and affordable screening events and vital education programs for all. Vidiots is reopening in June 2023 at the historic Eagle Theatre in Northeast Los Angeles.

We are grateful for the support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit

Special thanks to our community partners: The Autry Museum, The Chapter House, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Indigenous Circle of Wellness, Los Angeles Filmforum, LA Skins Fest, Meztli Projects, Oxy Arts, So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project, UCLA AMIA Student Chapter.

About the curators

Anpa'o Locke is an Afro-Indigenous writer, filmmaker and curator who is Húŋkpapȟa Lakota and Ahtna Dené, born in the Standing Rock Nation. She currently resides in Tiwa territory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a 2022 Full Circle Sundance Institute Fellow. She received her degree in Film Studies from Mount Holyoke College, where she honed her craft of creating films that explore the Native diaspora experience and offer a critical analysis of Indigenous activism and environmentalism. Her passion for 35mm, Super 8 and 16mm filmmaking and photography is evident in her work and is a driving force behind her creative expression.


Colleen Thurston is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and curator from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Colleen has served as the co-Executive Director of the Fayetteville Film Festival, the Film Programming Assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the founding Director of Programming of Tulsa American Film Festival. She is a programmer for Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Project Lead for Native Lens, a digital series for Rocky Mountain PBS and KSUT Tribal Radio. She has produced work for the Smithsonian Channel, Vox, illumiNATIVE and museums, public television, and federal and tribal organizations. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches documentary studies and film production. She is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.