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October 30, 2013

NMAI Launches Its New Native Film & Media Catalog in . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1. . . !

Title page from the new catalog for Atanarjuat/The Fast Runner, directed by Zacharias Kunuk. 

The NMAI Film and Video Center (FVC) is pleased to announce a new resource on the museum’s website. The past forty years have seen the rise of indigenous media worldwide. Film, video, and other media have become arenas both for creative expression and for the exploration of ideas. They have also been used to present the accomplishments of Native communities and people, and the issues they face. 

People page for media maker Marcelina Cardénas.

To make information about indigenous films more widely available, the museum has launched an online Film & Media Catalog—descriptions of more than 1,000 titles by and about indigenous peoples from North, Central, and South America, as well as the Pacific region and the Arctic Circle, all of which have been screened by the museum since 1995 through its Native American Film + Video Festival and other screening programs. The works presented in the catalog include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, short and feature-length works. The catalog also provides profiles of more than 300 filmmakers and others associated with the films, and key information about the field of Native American and indigenous film and media. With its focus on productions and filmmakers from throughout the Americas, the catalog provides information, whenever possible, in both English and Spanish. 

The catalog is divided into three sections: film descriptions (under the heading Titles); profiles of individual mediamakers (People), and Native media organizations (Organizations). Information in the Titles and People sections is searchable by tribe, country, and region. 

People page for director and producer Chris Eyre.
Pages for individual films include a succinct description, production credits, awards (when available), languages heard in the film, and distributors. Pages for individual filmmakers and actors include biographical profiles and titles of associated films that the museum has shown, with links to additional information. Some profiles also include transcribed interviews. The Organizations section provides contact information and links to international resource lists for organizations active in four areas—Native film and media support, Native film festivals, Native youth media, and Native radio—and to information about film distributors who appear on the Titles pages. 

The Film & Media Catalog is the result of feedback received from users of the FVC’s retired site, Native Networks, and of its printed film and video catalogs, and has been realized through the expert guidance of Native Networks coordinator, Wendy Allen, and the management and development of the museum’s Web Office. Information in the catalog is dynamically generated from the NMAI’s Indigenous Media Online database, originally administered by information services specialist Millie Seubert, now the work of FVC’s database coordinator, Fatima Mahdi. 

We hope you’ll visit the Film & Media Catalog and let us know what you think! 

—Elizabeth Weatherford

Elizabeth Weatherford is the founding director of NMAI’s Film and Video Center and of its Native American Film + Video Festival and Native Cinema Showcase. Since 1979, she has advocated for the development of a strong hemispheric program at NMAI in Native American and Indigenous film by providing a broad range of screenings and by developing an in-depth commitment to providing information services to the public, filmmakers, programmers, and scholars. 


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