San Francisco-based American Indian Film Festival Centers Native Stories and Creators

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 (Courtesy of Jennifer Varenchik)

For 46 years, the San Francisco-based American Indian Film Festival has showcased features, documentaries and animated works from Native filmmakers. This year’s festival kicks off Friday with more than a hundred films at a time when filmmakers and audiences are clamoring for more representation of Native communities. Although, Native creators are seeing more interest in their stories and projects in recent years, films made by and about Native Americans rarely, if ever, reach mainstream success. The Hollywood Diversity Report found that Native Americans account for less than 1 percent of on-screen and behind the scenes talent in the U.S. entertainment industry. We talk about Native representation in film and the challenges of making and distributing Native American-centered films.  


Jennifer Varenchik , screenwriter, actor and director, her film, "In Our Own Hands," is nominated for Best Live Short in the 2021 American Indian Film Festival

Paloma Flores, director of community development and partnerships, American Indian Cultural District; board member, American Indian Film Institute