Film Festival

2nd Annual Sarasota Native American Film Festival March 19th – 28th, 2021

The 2nd annual Sarasota Native American Film Festival will take place virtually from March 19th until March 28th, 2021. The mission of the event, based in Sarasota, Florida, is to present cinematic works related to the experience of indigenous people in the Americas. The festival is presented by the Sarasota Film Festival with support from the Boxser Diversity Initiative, in collaboration with the Native Reel Cinema Festival, the Stranahan House Museum, and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of Seminole Culture and History. The event is free and open to the public to watch.

Sarasota Native American Film Festival Highlights

Showcasing a diverse program of over 20 films, the Sarasota Native American Film Festival will feature the World Premiere of the feature documentary “Finding Angola: Manatee’s County First Black Community,” directed by Charles Clapsaddle, about the Bradenton, Florida-based community founded by escaped slaves and Seminoles in the early 1800s. The festival will also feature a retrospective of films from the First Nations Mi’kmaq filmmaker Catherine Anne Martin, including the World Premiere of her new documentary “The Basket Maker” that honors generations of women who have used their skills and knowledge to create traditional art. 

Among other programming highlights are films by the noted Seminole/Muskogee director Sterlin Harjo, short films by emerging indigenous filmmakers, music videos by Seminole artists, and a spotlight on alligator wrestling. The festival will also showcase “Smoke Signals,” the seminal 1998 road-trip dramedy directed by Chris Eyre, as well as “Songs My Brother Taught Me,” the debut feature from the celebrated, Academy Award-nominated director Chloe Zhao. Her film’s story focuses on life at the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Lakota. 

The virtual program will showcase films, live Q&As with the filmmakers behind the films, and panels that speak to the Native American/Indigenous Peoples experience. Of particular note is the panel Listen and Learn: key issues in Native American Life, which will feature leaders from the Lakota, Navajo, Seminole, Pueblo and First Nations people discussing vital topics. 

A Rich Film Festival Tradition

“The resounding success of last year’s Sarasota Native American Indian Festival was indicative of audiences yearning for more representation of undertold stories in arts and entertainment,” said Mark Famiglio, President of the Sarasota Film Festival. “This year’s festival will continue to champion this important community and we hope audiences continue to be delighted with the groundbreaking storytelling with our lineup.”

“For the past 12 years, our mission has been to encourage a better understanding of the diverse groups, racial, religious and gender in Southwest Florida. In partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival, the first Native American Film Festival was held in 2020,” said Dan Boxser, of the Boxser Diversity Initiative. “It’s purpose is to inform, educate and entertain about a group of peoples who might not be on everyone’s radar. We are excited that this year we can are bringing together indigenous peoples from all over North America.”  

“I am very honored that the Sarasota Film festival reached out to The Native Reel Cinema Festival to help be involved with their beautiful event. With this great collaboration I feel it will broaden the focus and light on Native/Indigenous films, Directors, actors, and most importantly our stories. MVTO!,” said Everett Osceola, President and Co-founder of Native Reel Cinema Festival. 

The Sarasota Native American Film Festival will be available through the website as well as on Sarasota Film Festival’s website starting on March 19th. For more information on the Sarasota Film Festival, which will be taking place April 30th-May 9th, 2021 please go to the website

About The Sarasota Film Festival

Held annually in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts, and kid-friendly picks. Entering its 23rd year, the festival brings the best new and established independent filmmakers to the Festival with local and kid-friendly programs that showcase its idyllic Gulf Coast community. The festival is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and also offers a year-round educational program, which reaches thousands of local students through classic film showcases, film contests, summer camps, and instructional workshops. For additional information please visit the website.

Photo from Deposit Photos

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Native American, Sarasota Film Festival, Virtual Events, Virtual Festival

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