The FourthCinema Native Film Festival originated in San Antonio, TX. In 2019, I helped co-organize the Talom Aptzai Indigenous Film Festival with American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions, a local nonprofit. Similar to that festival, I wanted to take the opportunity to create a platform for indigenous filmmakers to share their work. The festival seeks to showcase new works that give contemporary perspectives of life in indigenous communities. As a Native person and a filmmaker, I deeply identify with other indigenous artists who strive to use film as a means of self-expression and to tell important stories. I hope that the festival contributes to the opening-up of festivals, online platforms, and other forms of distribution that indigenous artists have been able to utilize to have their work seen and their voices heard.
After the 2019 festival, planning for the FourthCinema Native Film Festival was started in early 2020 and was meant to be held over two days at a local theater. The online, four-hour version of the festival lacks the in-person, communal environment that film festivals can normally foster. However, I hope that people are drawn to the festival by a common desire to experience something new and original in film, to support these artists, and to stand together as people who think that previously marginalized voices should be heard. After generations of colonialism and the attempted erasure of cultures and people, the films in the festival show us how indigenous cultural expression still thrives. Even as the world seemingly burns and our ways of life dramatically change or go away completely, these films still have a home here.
As a festival and as a loose organization, FourthCinema will continue to support Native artists from everywhere, however possible.
Movie-going will always be a communal experience. If you can stream Youtube on your TV, go to our page there and watch the stream on the biggest screen you have with the lights low, and be sure to invite whomever you’ve been quarantining with for the last two months.
I hope everyone enjoys these movies, because they are great in and of themselves. They are being presented in a time when solidarity, kindness, and cooperation seem more important than ever.
Scott Pewenofkit Jr.