Santa Fe Independent Film Festival Features Strong Line-up of Indigenous Films


Return to Rainy Mountain and Tribute to Scott Momaday is directed by Jill Momaday.

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFIFF) to be included as one of their community-level sponsors.
The Ninth Annual SFIFF is the premiere film event in Santa Fe, showcasing the very best independent films of 2017 in Santa Fe’s top theaters. This year, the SFIFF runs from October 18, 2017 through October 22, 2017, featuring five days of independent film, social events, and numerous instructive and exploratory workshops. SFIFF’s goal is to create a dialogue between filmmakers of diverse visions and cultures, to enrich the Santa Fe community through innovative experiences and economic opportunities, and to support a vibrant and sustainable filmmaking future in New Mexico. For this year’s schedule and more information please visit, or call 505.349.1414.
As part of the 2017 programming, the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (SFIFF) presents a special slate of Native American Film programming which features narratives, documentaries, and shorts with a unique perspective on Native America and Indigenous communities. These films include the top Indigenous films of 2017, plus local selections and films by up-and-coming Native Filmmakers.

SFIFF Executive Director and Co-Founder Jacques Paisner had to say about the slate of Indigenous films in this year’s festival: “With both documentaries and narratives spanning from Pine Ridge to Fist Nations, this is a stellar lineup”

Return to Rainy Mountain and Tribute to Scott Momaday. Directed by Jill Momaday. N Scott Momaday (Kiowa) will be presented with the SFIFF 2017 Lifetime Acheivement Award followed by a discussion with Kirk Ellis and a screening of his daughter Jill Momaday’s (Kiowa) Film “Return to Rainy Mountain,” the story of daughter Jill’s relationship to her father N. Scott Momaday and their tribal heritage.
6:30 pm, Thursday, October 19, 2017, The Lensic

The Art of Acting Panel with Wes Studi (Cherokee)
2:00 pm, Sunday, October 22, 2017, Santa Fe Playhouse

Memories of Miss O’Keeffe: Directed by Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho), consultant to the IAIA Cinematic Arts and Technology Department. This short documentary shares intimate reflections from generations of the Lopez family, who worked for Georgia O’Keeffe in northern New Mexico in her later years.
2:00 pm, Sunday, October 22, 2017, Jean Cocteau Cinema.

Sami Blood: Directed by Amanda Kernell (Sámi). Elle Majra, 14, is a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl. Exposed to the racism of the 1930s and race biology examinations at her boarding school, she starts dreaming of another life. To achieve this other life, she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.
5:00 pm, Thursday, October 19, 2017, Jean Cocteau Cinema
3:45 pm, Saturday October 21, 2017, Jean Cocteau Cinema

The Shepherdess of the Glacier: Directed by Stanzin Dorjai, Christiane Mordelert. She is one of the last shepherdesses who still lives with her flock in the heights of the Gya-Miru valley in Laskh. At the age of 50, Tsering is the youngest in her village to drive her 350 goats and sheep at the expense of transhumance in this region of the Himalayas, located between 4000 and 6000 meters above sea level. A harsh and precarious life, often solitary, mishandled by difficult climatic conditions and a sometimes hostile nature, which does not prevent this tiny bit of woman to sing, laugh and…philosophize.
4:00 pm, Thursday, October 19, 2017, CCA Main
12:30 pm, Saturday, October 20, CCA Main

A New Land: Directed by Jackie Munro, Jesse Fisher. A New Land traces the struggles of three families living without access to water or electricity on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
7:00 pm, Thursday, October 19, 2017, The Screen

Defending The Fire; Directed by David Aubrey. Defending The Fire follows the journey of the Native Warrior as he (and she) continue conflict resolution in order to survive and secure resources and culture.
7:00 pm, Friday, October 20, The Screen
3:00 pm, Saturday, October 2017, The Screen

On a Knife Edge: Directed by Jeremy Williams. Filmed over a five-year period and set against a background of rising tension and protest, a Lakota teenager learns first-hand what it means to lead a new generation and enter adulthood in a world where the adds are stacked against him.
12:00 pm, Saturday, October 21, 2017, Jen Cocteau Cinema
12:00 pm, Sunday, October 22, Jean Cocteau Cinema

Bee Nation: Directed by Lana Slezic. Students, parents, and educators are followed before the first-ever First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Canada.
6:00 pm, Saturday, October 21, 2017, Jean Cocteau Cinema
3:00 pm, Sunday, October 23, 2017, Jean Cocteau Cinema

Veiled Lightning: Directed by Jaima Chevalier. Velied Lightning weaves exclusive news coverage, original art, archival footage, and Native American informant interviews into a mosaic that explores how protest movements unfurling across the American landscape have an origin story in the First American Revolution — the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 — and how that ancient battle not only informs the fight for social and environmental justice, but also casts a light on ways to thwart oppression, cultural genocide, and appropriation to preserve Indigenous culture and help a nation to heal from its own tortured history.
7:00 pm, Saturday, October 21, 2017, The Screen 2:00 pm, Sunday October 22, 2017, The Screen

Festival Passes are available at
To interview the festival organizers or any of the filmmakers, contact Eric Davis, Marketing & Communications Director, IAIA at 505.424.2351, or



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