The American Indian Film Festival Celebrates 40 Years

By @BJ_Boo
The American Indian Film Festival Celebrates 40 Years

Running from this Friday, November 6 to Friday, November 13, the American Indian Film Festival celebrates its 40th year in the heart of downtown San Francisco at the AMC Metreon. The festival gives voice to the underrepresented Native American filmmaking community, showcasing the best of Native cinema. Covering a wide range of genres, this year’s films explore various aspects of Native American culture, issues and traditions while providing gripping entertainment at the same time.

Opening the festival is We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited, a reflective music doc about Johnny Cash’s 1964 concept album Bitter Tears, a collaborative project with folk singer Peter Lafarge. Largely set in a recording studio as various musicians re-record tracks from the album as tribute, director Antonio D’ Ambrosio recounts the album’s history via archival photos and footage and conversations with the in-studio performers. Releasing Bitter Tears as a way of speaking up for those whose voices went unheard amid a landscape of social unrest, Cash became a Native American ally through song, and his empathy and fight for Native awareness still echoes today.

A convenience store stick-up turns into an intense session of family therapy in Le Dep, my personal favorite of the festival. Eve Ringuette plays Lydia, a young woman who works at her dad’s store in Québec. She’s held at gunpoint after closing hours, but when she catches on to who’s behind the black ski mask, the game changes completely. Suspenseful, tragic and emotionally raw, director Sonia Boileau’s film is one not to miss.

Other films on the lineup include Maori martial arts thriller The Dead Lands, rehabilitation drama Mekko, sibling love story Songs My Brother Taught Me, and a wide variety of shorts.

For more information, visit

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