Representation matters. It matters because it impacts how we interact with our fellow Americans, the way that we educate our children, and it shapes our path forward as a democracy. Storytelling and filmmaking have suffered from a dearth of representation of important groups that influenced American democracy, notably Native Americans. Native culture is rich, steeped in history and multifaceted, yet mainstream films do not often capture this nuance. The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival honors the contributions of Native Americans and reinvigorates conversations about telling stories of indigenous life. In the past seven years we have screened over 160 films and hosted over 55 Producers, Directors, Writers, and Actors.
The Festival aims to raise awareness about Native American language, cultures, and societies through films that share Native American perspectives. The Festival, which is the only one of its kind on the East Coast, brings together artists, authors, cineastes and actors who share a passion for film and features experiential learning opportunities for the entire public. In the past, filmmakers have used demeaning stereotypes when incorporating Native characters or storylines, which lack nuance, accuracy and complexity. The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival offers new insight into previously under-told narratives.
It is befitting that this important East Coast American Indian film festival is held in Virginia. Long before English settlers first arrived to establish the Jamestown settlement, Native Americans inhabited the land that would become the birthplace of our nation. Upon their arrival, Native Americans shared their mastery of the land with the English settlers and ultimately ensured the Colony’s survival. In 1619 Virginia three cultures collided, Virginia Indian, African and English. The interactions between these cultures forged what would eventually become the United States and demonstrates that diversity has always been an integral part of the American story. Representation of these groups and their contributions in the stories we share has an impact on how our communities reflect on, and share, our collective history. This dedication to the accurate retelling of American history was also embedded in the events and initiatives of Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, AMERICAN EVOLUTION. The 2019 Commemoration, which marked the 400th Anniversary of key events that took place in 1619 Virginia, designated the Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival as a Legacy Project. Through the Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival, we hope to raise visibility around the need for more diversity in film, as well as elevate the perspectives of Native Americans in society.
Films must be by or about Native peoples. Native people in front of or behind the camera.
We only accept films from Mexico, the United States and Canada. If your film is selected for screening, you must be able to provide a downloadable mp4 file.
Some filmmakers will be invited to attend the festival. All expenses will be covered including airfare, hotel, and meals.