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24 Oct. 2013

38th Annual Am. Indian Film Fest

The 38th annual American Indian Film Festival runs Friday, November 1 to Saturday, November 9 at the Delancey Street Theatre, 600 Embarcadero Blvd in San Francisco and will conclude Sunday, November 10 at the San Francisco Jazz Center with its annual American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show. The awards show recognizes outstanding Indian cinematic accomplishments.

Danny Glover

Danny Glover

The festival will inaugurate two new festival locations: the Delancey Street Theater, and the San Francisco Jazz Center. Tickets for all festival screenings are on sale now at

Kicking off the annual film fest is CHASING SHAKESPEARE, from director Norry Niven. Told in a flashback from his wife’s deathbed, William Ward’s (Danny Glover) story traces his meeting with the beautiful Venus (Tantoo Cardinal) who is from the Lightning Clan, a mystical Native American family living in Arkansas. CHASING SHAKESPEARE poster

Opening night will be followed by matinee and evening screenings on Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3 with director Charlie Soap’s CHEROKEE WORD FOR WATER and director Cyril Morin’s THE ACTIVIST, respectively.

AIFF 38 continues on Tuesday, November 5 with Shirley Cheechoo’s MOOSE RIVER CROSSING; a special presentation of STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE in Navajo Language on Wednesday, November 6; Director Anita Doron’s THE LESSER BLESSED starring Benjamin Bratt will screen on Thursday, November 7; WINTER IN THE BLOOD from brothers Andrew and Alex Smith starring Chaske Spencer will screen Friday, November 8; and the festival will close its screenings on Saturday, November 9 with MAINA, from director Michel Poulette and starring Roseanne Supernault and Tantoo Cardinal.

On Sunday, November 10, AIFF 38 will officially wrap with the American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show from 4 -7pm at the San Francisco Jazz Center, hosted by Actor Michael Spears and Actress Tonanztin Carmelo. The gala features American Indian and First Nation filmmakers, actors and entertainers, and film award presentations with live musical and cultural performances.  Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Expected guests include Tantoo Cardinal, Roseanne Supernault, Kimberley Guerrero, Steve Reevis, Moses Brings Plenty, Gary Farmer, Saginaw Grant and Chaske Spencer. Performers will include the bands Twice As Good & Scatter Their Own; Swil Kanim, Cody Blackbird, Vaughn Eaglebear and Inez Jasper.



AIFF 38 will also feature three special events at Delancey Street theater: a Film Distribution Panel on Thursday, November 7 from 12 to 2pm; AIFI youth screenings from Tribal Touring Program and Canada’s Wapikoni Mobile and Weengushk Film Institute on Friday, November 8 at 10am which will spotlight P.O.V. films from Indian youth; and finally, CBS’ Fern Orenstein, Casting V.P., will conduct a workshop “Working One-on-One with Actors” on Friday, November 8 at 2pm. The Film Distribution Panel, co-presented by California Lawyer for the Arts features Andrew Smith, Director of Winter in the Blood, Shirley Sneve, Executice Director of Vision Maker Media, Shirley Cheechoo, Director of Moose River Crossing, Peter Bratt, writer and director of Follow Me Home and La Mission and Robert G. Pimm, California Lawyer for the Arts discussing strategies on distribution.

“We are proud of our history as America’s oldest and most prestigious venue for American Indian and First Nation film arts and entertainment,” says AIFI founder-president Michael Smith [Sioux]. “With deep roots in both Indian country, and the Bay Area, we look forward to this dynamic new chapter in American Indian Film Festival history, as we progress toward our 40th anniversary, fortified by our steadfast allies, sponsors and partners in San Francisco and American Indian communities.”

About American Indian Film Institute & American Indian Film Festival Danny Glover 1
The American Indian Film Institute’s mission is to foster understanding of the culture, traditions and issues of contemporary American Indian and First Nations peoples. We encourage Indian filmmakers to bring to the broader media culture the indigenous voices, viewpoints and stories that have historically been excluded from mainstream media. Moreover, our goals include tireless advocacy for authentic visual and work-force representations of Indians in the media. The American Indian Film Festival, established in 1975, is the oldest and most prominent media showcase of its kind in the world. In nearly four decades of work, AIFF has screened over 2,000 films from American Indian and First Nations communities.

Danny Glover was honored recently in his hometown of San Francisco for his lauded career during the annual Museum of African Diaspora’s gala.  See interview link:


About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.

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