The Native Film Fest, presented annually by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, brought Native Americans and other indigeneous peoples to the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs March 4-9.
The Leadership Sponsor was the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.
The Richard M. Milanovich Award for Distinguished Contributions to Inidigenous Film was presented to award winning Canadian actress Tantoo Cardinal March 8. The award was established in the name of Milanovich, the late chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in recognition of his strong support of the Native Film Fest which he attended regularly.
Elizabeth Weatherford, founder and director of the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, was guest programmer and brought a diversity of subject matter to the screen including Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the first major motion picture translated into the Navajo language.)
The festival opened with a free lecture by Nancy Marie Mithio, an associate professor of art history and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin. She will chair the American Indian Studies at Autry National Center in Los Angeles next fall.
Among the many new Native films presented was Huy Huy directed by Sky Hoopinka, who is a 2002 Palm Springs High School graduate.