Promised Land

Matt Damon re-teams with the director of Good Will Hunting.

River of No Return

Marilyn Monroe explores the Wild West.

Satellite Boy

Pete lives with his grandfather in an old abandoned outdoor cinema.

Wuthering Heights

Forbidden love in the United Kingdom.

Cafe de Flore

Vanessa Paradis in an emotional French tale.

Showing posts with label Native American films. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Native American films. Show all posts

Reel Injun

This looks good...

Reel Injun takes an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through the history of cinema. Travelling through the heartland of America, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding – and misunderstanding – of Natives.

Official Site:

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Twilight: New Moon (A Review) - Or Why Women Like Creatures of the Night

I was excited to see New Moon for various reasons: vampires, werewolves, forbidden romance, Native American actors and a cool soundtrack. The Twilight Saga appeals to the teenage girl in me, pure and simple. Men are allowed to connect with their inner fanboy so why shouldn't women be able to connect with their inner fangirl? I'm not saying that New Moon was brilliant but it was fun! Some lines were uber cheesy, but even those were enjoyable laugh out loud moments. 

Clara of asked me why women/girls are captivated by vampire stories and I'll include aliens to that list (Smallville, Roswell). So why? Probably because these "friendly" creatures of the night are super sensitive, they have special powers to "look inside your soul" and come with promises to "always protect." In real-life that would be creepy but in a fantasy that works. I think it's the instant deep connection with another person that draws girls and women. They're romanticized as poets with fangs.

I wouldn't mind seeing a rise of nerdy/awkward vampires though (think Michael Cera). Just imagine Nick & Norah's Infinite Vampire Playlist

For more discussion on women and vampirism check out "Why Are Women So Fascinated by Vampires?" and "Women Writers Talk New Moon

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LA Skins Fest

Over the weekend I had the chance to catch some short films at the 3rd Annual LA Skins Fest. Here are my favorites:

Crazy Ind'n The Sequel offers outlandish humor i.e. Robot Chicken. It's refreshing to see Native American filmmakers pushing the limits using traditional "stereotypes" and giving them artistic freedom.

A Return Home is a documentary that deals with the bittersweet story of a Navajo artist who returns to the reservation of her birth. After being away for several years B. Emerson Kitsman contemplates her self-identity in a place that sees her as a "stranger." If you're a fan of sunset paintings then you'll find Kitsman's work impressive. Especially the big canvas piece she worked on with the red rocks in the background. Stunning!

Spout is perhaps my favorite of them all. It's an offbeat story about psuedo-vampirism, but not the friendly kind. These people suck blood in an unusual but entertaining way. The cast is multicultural, the colors vibrant, the plot quirky and the characters fun!

Overall, The LA Skins Fest is a hidden gem. It felt like going to an indie rock concert that only a few people know about where everyone senses that it will morph into something big down the line.

Official Site:

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Alex Meraz at the Red Nation Film Festival

Last night I snapped these photos of Alex Meraz on the red carpet for the Red Nation Film Festival. Meraz and other members of the "Wolfpack" were there for the closing night gala screening of Twilight: New Moon.

Signing an autograph for a fan.

Red Nation spotlights Native American filmmakers and launched American Indian Heritage Month in Los Angeles. And just in case you didn't know November is the national American Indian Heritage Month so be sure to check out the Native American film section on to add some movies to your Netflix queue.

Official Site:


Twilight New Moon poster

One of the more exciting bits of New Moon will be the introduction of the Wolf Pack. Especially Alex Meraz, he'll be playing the bad boy. I hope this role opens new opportunities for him because Hollywood is in dire need of a Native American movie star.

I met Meraz at the Chicago Comic-Con and he was extremely handsome in person. Casting directors take note!

For more New Moon posters visit Rama's Screen.


Necessities of Life

I had the great opportunity to watch Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life) while on a flight to Edmonton on the Air Canada flight. Even though the film was Canada's contender for best film in a foreign language at the Oscars this past January it had limited theater screenings and was hard to catch.

The film was just released on DVD, just in time for Aboriginal Day in Canada (celebrated June 21st). This Inuit film follows a man, Tivii (Natar Ungalaaq of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) seperated from his family in Baffin Island and sent to a sanitorium in Quebec City in the 50s. It unveils the relationship that evolves between him and a young Inuit orphan Kaki, who he decides to adopt. This heartfelt film allows one to greatly empathize with Tivii as he takes a journey so far from his home.

by Lisa Charleyboy from Urban Native Girl Stuff

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Turquoise Rose

Finally another reason to visit Sedona Arizona besides those beautiful red rocks. The Sedona Film Festival kicks off tonight with an urban Native tale, Turquoise Rose.

The film follows Navajo Turquoise Roanhorse, a photojournalist newspaper intern in Phoenix is about to take a trip to Europe. She finds out that her grandmother is not well and decides to move back to the reservation to care for her. She was raised in the burbs and this journey embarks her to connect with her culture and fall for a rez boy at the same time.

An urban Native romantic drama starring a cute photographer (Natasha Kaye Johnson) and a Navajo rez boy (Deshava Apachee). What could be better? Directed by Navajo Travis Holt Hamilton, he has worked on this for over five years and did it with a budget under one million. According to the Gallup Independent (where Johnson works), he also made the film with an emphasis on including Navajo people in the entire process. How entirely heart warming, just like the movie looks like it will be.

If you are not in Sedona, the film can be purchased on DVD here.

by Lisa Charleyboy from Urban Native Girl Stuff

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Sioux City

One of my late night movie rentals yielded this: vintage Lou Diamond Phillips and Salli Richardson circa 1994. There's no way I could pass that up!

Not only does Lou Diamond Phillips star in the film he also directs it and sings on the soundtrack with his band The Pipefitters. When did he get a band? Seriously, the '90s went by way too fast. Anyhow, if you can get pass the cheesy musical score then you might enjoy this film.

A Native American doctor, adopted and raised by an affluent Jewish family from Beverly Hills, returns to his native reservation to seek out his natural mother, a Lakota tribeswoman, only to discover she's been murdered


Emerging Talent: Alex Meraz

Alex Meraz will be New Moon's breakout star. When the Twilight sequel hits theaters this fall it's going to rule the box office and I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing his name all over the place. So get ready!

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Four Sheets to the Wind

Last night I finally watched Four Sheets to the Wind in it's entirety and I wondered why did I wait so long? Last week I was trying to learn an Oklahoma accent and had watched snippets of the film only to be so intrigued that I almost missed my flight to NYC as I was sitting in the airport watching with my headphones on. It was only when I heard the tap-tap-tap on the microphone and the calling of my name to the gate when I realized how involved I had become.

It opened the imagineNATIVE Film Festival in 2007 (where I worked in 2008), it won 'Special Jury Prize' for Tamara Podemski's dramatic portrayal of Mari Smallhill, and 'Best Director' to Sterlin Harjo and 'Best Actor' for Cody Lightning's portrayal of Cufe Smallhill at the 2007 American Indian Movie Awards.

The film starts slow, much like the pace of Oklahoma, where the film is set and shot. Well it does start with the death of the main character, Cufe Smallhill's, father which is seemingly a dramatic start but the pulse of the film is slow. We also meet the family: sister Mari, and mother Cora. Cora explains to Cufe about meeting his father; "Mom was so pissed when we got married. She always wanted me to marry a rich white man. I ran off and married the first poor Indian I could find." The film picks up when Cufe decides to head to Tulsa OK, and leave his reservation behind for a while to visit his big sister.

We follow Cufe and his developing relationship with his sister Mira's neighbour and as he observes how his sister lives in the big city. Tamara Podemski's portrayal of Mira is brilliant. Immediately we are engaged in her world and concerned for her as she has an insolent boyfriend, she drinks with guys who are obnoxious but "always pick up the tab," and steals from her till at her barista day job. Mari is like a top gone out of control that you can't help but watch and wonder what will happen next.

And no, I am not going to spoon feed you the whole movie, but seriously find this movie and watch it. You will not be disappointed. The acting ability and storytelling are so compelling it will leave you wanting to see more from the talented director Sterlin Harjo (which is Barking Water).

by Lisa Charleyboy from Urban Native Girl Stuff


New Moon News: Wolf pack unveiled

Well I just couldn't resist myself with this bit of news from USA Today. Here is the Wolf pack in lieu of their regalia. The are: Paul (Alex Meraz), Sam (Chaske Spencer), Jared (Bronson Pelletier), and Embry (Kiowa Gordon). Other news includes that when they take the wolf form, that will indeed be computer generated but they will be using the actor's eyes.

The clip below is from ET, which will be having another spotlight on the teen flick tonight so stay tuned. Okay that's enough blatant promotion for the movie for today.

by Lisa Charleyboy repost from Urban Native Girl Stuff

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We Shall Remain watching

Well there is at least six reasons why you should check out We Shall Remain on PBS tonight at 9 PM . . .

1. 5 Part series: "After the Mayflower," "Tecumseh's Vision," "Trail of Tears," "Geronimo" and "Wounded Knee" that all explore unique part's of Native American History.

2. Native American depiction that is inclusive of Native American input into all aspects of production.

3. A chance to learn more about history in United States from 1621 ("After the Mayflower") to 1973 ("Wounded Knee") in relation to Native Americans.

Chris Eyre (of Smoke Signals fame) directs three/five of the series ("After the Mayflower" "Tecumseh's Vision" and "Trail of Tears").

5. Creates an opportunity to create more discussion with youth and/or children about the history that they are not being taught in school classes.

6. Native men in buckskin and loincloths.

by Lisa Charleyboy of Urban Native Girl Stuff

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Irene Bedard & The Baker Twins on 'Tyra'

One of my favorite actresses, Irene Bedard (Smoke Signals, Pocahontas), was on the Tyra Banks Show and I totally missed it. And by missed I mean by like two years. Whoops. The episode was about racism in Hollywood. Thank God for YouTube! Here's a clip:

I couldn't find a link to the whole episode so if you know of one please share.

Did you catch the show when it originally aired? Do you think Hollywood has made any significant changes since then?

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Before Tomorrow or was it yesterday?

Before Tomorrow
just had it’s theatrical release in Canada last night. Just like the pace of the Inuit film, this film made a quiet statement, but a powerful one.

The film is set in 1840 and shows how Inuit were living when the onslaught of white men were merely rumours told by few. We first see the reunion of two families during the summer when there is much happiness abound. Shortly after, the two main characters Ninguiq (Madelin Ivalu) and her grandson Maniq (Paul-Dylan Ivalu) head to an island to begin drying the fish and bring Ninquig’s best friend Kutuguk (Mary Qulitalik).

The drama unfolds on the island and continues through the rest of the film as the two main characters face death, mortality and isolation.

The immense power that is captured in the stillness and quietness of this film is intense. It won best Canadian feature at it’s world premier at 2008 TIFF, Best Feature film at 2008 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, Best Feature Film at 2008 Annual American Indian Film Festival and the 2009 Sundance best Dramatic World Cinema Competition.

The film is from Arnait Video Productions collective, which is an Inuit women’s collective that takes Inuit women’s stories to produce culturally authentic and community-involved films. Based on the book Før Morgendagen by Danish author Jørn Riel it the film is used as a vehicle to empower Inuit peoples to tell their own stories in a new medium.

Before Tomorrow's pace is one that is foreign to us now which is precisely the reason this film should be seen. It is a reminder of things past, of a life more simple and somehow more pure.

by Lisa Charleyboy repost from Urban Native Girl Stuff

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Native American in Benjamin Button

Myrton Running Wolf

Last weekend I finally went to see
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and was pleasantly surprised to see a Native American cameo in the flick played by, gasp, an actual Native American. Myrton Running Wolf took the role of a Cherokee Navy Seal, who was on screen briefly and died before he got many lines in.

Such a shame since Running Wolf is presumably immensely talented as he received a scholarship to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City where he studied classical and modern acting. His feature film debut was at the Sundance Film Festival in director Chris Eyre's 2002 film Skins.

Nevertheless, I was happy to see a portrayal of a Native person on the big screen. Another film that ties Native peoples to the military is Reservation Soldiers, which is a heartfelt documentary that follows three young men into their participation with the Canadian army. Ultimately it shows how the military seduces young Native peoples away from their reservations. Perhaps Running Wolf's character would have learned a lesson or two from that documentary had not been before his time.

-Repost by Lisa Charleyboy of Urban Native Girl Stuff.

~Reservation Soldiers will be shown at the 2009 Native American Film + Video Festival in New York City Sunday March 29th and can be purchased here.


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Dispelling stereotypes in the big apple

Ray Morrin (Duane Murray) and Jolene Peltier (Melanie McLaren) in Tkaronto

A buff warrior in a loincloth with red war paint across his cheeks stands beside a long raven-haired beauty, who is clad in beaded buckskin, complete with a feather in her hair: these are the most common stereotypes attributed to Native peoples in North America. Instilled in the global consciousness by Hollywood films, they are often the only portrayals most people know.

On the dark side of this strife are the negative stereotypes that are attributed to Native peoples street-side. Stereotypes are planted and reinforced into the global consciousness with films like Disney’s Pocahontas, Mel Gibson’s Apacolypto and the ‘70s flick Little Big Man.

Since the uniting of writer Sherman Alexie and director Chris Eyre in Smoke Signals there has been a definitive shift toward Native peoples controlling their own images in celluloid. In less than two weeks the Native American Film + Video Festival is happening in New York City.

Chris Eyre opens the festival March 26th with his PBS mini-series film We Shall Remain: Trail of Tears. Saturday night features director Shane Belcourt's Tkaronto which tells the tale of two urban Natives in Toronto, ON. The festival celebrates the creative energy of Native American directors, producers, writers, actors, musicians, cultural activists, and all the others who support their endeavors. With over 60 screenings and in it’s 30th year, this festival is sure to bring a broad platform in which the next generation of Native peoples films can flourish.

Today there are many talented Indigenous filmmakers and writers who are able to shift global consciousness and show there is more to Indigenous peoples than buff warriors and bucksin dresses.

~Contributed by Lisa Charleyboy of Urban Native Girl Stuff

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Introducing Lisa Charleyboy

I'm excited to announce that...

Lisa Charleyboy, from Urban Native Girl Stuff, is joining the Reel Artsy blog team to bring us a Native American perspective (even though she lives in Canada – where they say First Nations or Aboriginal).

Currently situated in Toronto, ON she is originally from the wilderness in Beautiful British Columbia and is finishing her degree in Professional Writing at York University. Last year she worked at imagineNATIVE Film Festival, which exposed her to the Native American film market and she is now pursuing a career in acting.

She has written for Native American publications such as Spirit Magazine and Redskins Magazine and loves writing about all things Native and noteworthy.

You can follow her on Twitter at

Favorite Quote: "We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

...Welcome to the team Lisa!

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Weeneebeg Aboriginal Film & Video Festival

Tantoo Cardinal (Smoke Signals, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) has a short film being screened at the 7th Annual Weeneebeg Aboriginal Film and Video Festival this week. The fest takes place in Moosonee, Ontario and will feature 35 films that explore the Native American experience.

Official Website:

[Hat tip Newspaper Rock]

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Moccasin Flats

Mocassin Flats is a ground-breaking Canadian TV series about the gritty reality that many Native American youth face in the Saskatchewan providence. The story has also been explored through a short film and a made-for-TV movie. To purchase the DVDs check out

Official Website:

For Fans of...
Lincoln Heights and The Wire

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Club Native

From the official website:
"On the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake, located just outside the city of Montreal, Canada, there are two firm but unspoken rules drummed into every member of the community: Do not marry a white person and do not have a child with a white person. The potential consequences of ignoring these rules-loss of membership on the reserve, for yourself and your child-are clear, and for those who incur them, devastating. Break the rules, and you also risk being perceived as having betrayed the Mohawk Nation by diluting the 'purity' of the bloodline.

Club Native is a candid and deeply moving look at the pain, confusion and frustration suffered by many First Nations people as they struggle for the most important right of all: the right to belong."

Director: Tracey Deer
Official Website: Club Native

For Fans of...Smoke Signals and Tkaronto