San Marcos,
09:16 AM

2016 California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival Announces Line-Up

by Whitney Frasier

The fourth annual California’s American Indian & Indigenous Film Festival (CAIIFF), featuring the best in American Indian and Indigenous film, shorts and documentaries, will be hosted at California State University San Marcos and Pechanga Resort & Casino from Thursday, Nov. 17 to Saturday, Nov. 19.

Screenings will be from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at CSUSM; and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday at Pechanga Resort & Casino.

The 2016 CAIIFF will feature more than 25 films, shorts and documentaries by American Indian and Indigenous filmmakers, producers, directors and actors. It will offer several Q&A sessions with the stars and feature an exclusive invite-only reception to honor those making a significant impact in the industry.

Topics include Native American lives, interests and issues, as well as tribal culture, language revitalization, entertainment, empowerment and the preservation of natural and cultural resources.

The festival will also honor acclaimed actor and musician Wes Studi, who has starred in several award-winning films, including “Avatar,” “Geronimo: An American Legend,” “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Dances with Wolves.” The CAIIFF is planning a special screening of “Dances with Wolves” at Pechanga followed by a Q&A with cast members.

“With over 500 submissions to this year’s festival, we are truly showcasing the best film our indigenous communities have to offer,” said Joely Proudfit, department chair and professor, American Indian Studies. “We are delighted to showcase U.S. premieres of films, double features, A-list filmmakers and artists each evening and express our sincere thanks for the record number of submissions.”

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. – “100 Years: A Woman’s Journey For Justice”

CSUSM—University Student Union, Ballroom

This is the story of a woman’s 30-year fight for justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral-rich lands were grossly mismanaged by the United States government. In 1996, Elouise Cobell filed the largest class-action lawsuit ever against the federal government. For 15 long years, and through three presidential administrations, Cobell's unrelenting spirit never quit. This is the compelling true story of how she prevailed and made history.

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. – “Te Ata”

CSUSM—University Student Union, Ballroom

Te Ata (TAY’ AH-TAH) is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest Native American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory, and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw tribe, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States president, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet, of all the stories she shared, none are more inspiring than her own.

Friday, Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. – “Pow Wow Highway”

CSUSM— University Student Union, Ballroom

Buddy and Philbert leave the reservation to take a road trip across the Badlands of the American Midwest to save Buddy's sister from unjust imprisonment. On the way, they encounter truth, love, magic and healing. The journey across Badlands backroads also traverses the emotional territories of comedy, tragedy and existential mystery. “Powwow Highway” is a Native American cult classic.

Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. – “Maliglutit (Searchers)”

CSUSM— University Student Union, Ballroom

In 1913 Nunavut, a community’s well-being hangs in the balance. After an elder senses a foreboding, four men are exiled for the misfortune and trouble they will surely bring to the small group of Inuit. Angry and dangerous, the men roam the snowy tundra with a sickness in their hearts and minds.

Farther away, a man and his son are hunting for caribou, having been shown the way by a spirit helper, Kallulik, the loon. While the pair had a successful hunt, upon their return the man finds his wife and daughter kidnapped, and the other members of his family murdered by the marauding exiles. Coming to his aid, Kallulik sets him on course to find his family and avenge the deaths of his loved ones.

Saturday, Nov. 19 beginning at noon

Pechanga Resort & Casino

There will be an additional lineup of films on Saturday, Nov. 19 starting at noon at Pechanga Resort & Casino. For the full program, visit the California’s American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival website.

VIP reception featuring Wes Studi, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Pechanga Resort & Casino Eagle’s Nest

Wes Studi will be honored for exemplary performances and career achievement in “Dancing with Wolves” as well as his other roles in American Indian films. A painting by celebrated artist and filmmaker Steven Paul Judd will be created that night and later auctioned off at the event.

The VIP reception is not open to the public. Credentialed media are welcome to cover the event. Members of the media should contact Jessica Newton at 951-526-1867 to cover the Saturday Pechanga screenings, Q&As or the VIP reception.

For more information contact:

Joely Proudfit, CSUSM, 760-750-3535,

Who: The California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC) at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), and American Indian filmmakers, producers, directors and actors working throughout Indian Country.

What: The California’s American Indian and Indigenous Film Festival (CAIIFF).

Why: To showcase the finest work in current American Indian film and media, and spotlight American Indian lives, interests and issues.

When: Thursday, Nov. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016

Tickets: Purchase tickets online. Prices range from $7 to $10 per screening.

Where: Festival screenings and activities will take place Thursday, Nov. 17 and Friday, Nov. 18 at CSUSM, located at 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos. For more information, including driving directions, campus map and parking fees, visit the CSUSM Parking Guide.

Festival screenings and activities will take place Saturday, Nov. 19 at Pechanga Resort & Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula. Parking is free. For driving directions, please visit the Pechanga Resort & Casino website.