Although depictions of Native Americans have been a staple of American cinema virtually since its inception, their agency in shaping those depictions — both onscreen and behind the camera — has been limited at best. In the art world, Indigenous artists have faced a similar marginalization, with increasing institutional recognition happening only fairly recently. The film program Indigenous Now brings together performance-based cinematic works by several Native American artists, situated between the documentary and experimental. First shown as part of Art @ Tongva in Santa Monica last spring, this Saturday’s screening at the Echo Park Film Center is the result of popular demand to bring the program closer to the Eastside of Los Angeles.
Curated by Eve-Lauryn LaFountain (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), the screening features six films including “Smoke That Travels” (2016), a poetic rumination on the struggle to maintain tradition, as told through one family’s history, made by Kayla Briët (Potawatomi/Neshnabe) when she was only 18 years old; “Plains Indian Sign Language” (2017) by Elisa Harkins (Cherokee/Muscogee) and Nathan Young (Delaware/Pawnee/Kiowa), in which Harkins uses a sign language by which several different linguistic groups of Native Americans used to communicate in order to tell a personal story of loss; and Suzanne Kite’s (Oglala Lakota) “Listener” (2015), which meshes computational media and machine learning algorithms with analog Lakota storytelling. Several filmmakers will be in attendance.
When: Saturday, August 4, doors at 7:30pm; screening at 8pm ($5 admission)
Where: Echo Park Film Center (1200 N. Alvarado Street, Echo Park, Los Angeles)
More info at Echo Park Film Center.