Creating Systemic Change through the ARTS. Natives in Charge of Their Narrative.
The first and largest Global Native-led Film Festival and Awards Ceremony. Founded 1995 in The Entertainment Capital of the world Los Angeles CA. RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival runs November 1-30 [2020 VIRTUAL CINEMA]. Presented by Red Nation Celebration Institute the longest standing American Indian & Indigenous media educational Arts & Cultural federally recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in Los Angeles CA.

Founders Message - Joanelle Romero Founder/President/CEO of Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI), First Native Filmmaker in 2000 short-listed for an Academy Award. Joanelle coined #NativesInChargeOfTheirNarrative #WhyWeWearRED. RNCI is dedicated to changing the narrative about Native peoples on a global scale. Joanelle built the Red Nation Celebration Institute, now in its 25th year 2020; to cast light on the voices, stories, contributions and assets of contemporary Native peoples in replacing dangerous stereotypes that Native peoples face in media and academia with a 25 year history of cohesive research-informed strategies, ground-breaking initiatives, though cinematic excellence, media and strong focus on partnerships. Its the storytellers that will continue to uplift us, to inspire us, to motivate us and to encourage us to think differently.'

WELCOME to the
25th RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival™ (RNIFF) & Awards The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema™ is dedicated to breaking the barrier of racism by successfully replacing dangerous stereotypes with recognition, new vision, arts, culture and economic prosperity by placing American Indian Filmmakers at the forefront of the entertainment industry and to introduce American Indian Filmmakers to larger, global mainstream audiences while championing Native Women in Film & Television and giving voice and inspiring native youth with our dedicated film program Native Youth Matter™ – If I Can See It I Can Be It.™


Red Nation International Film Festival (RNIFF) is the first Native festival in the Entertainment Capitol of the world, Hollywood. Established in 1995 under the parent organization Red Nation Celebration Institute. RNCI first started out screening Native films at Universities and on reservations across Indian Country under Red Nation Screening Series. RNCI renamed its series to RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival in 2003.

Seventeen years ago there was not a dedicated venue to experience Native Cinema. Today, film enthusiasts can now enjoy the cinematic excellence of American Indian & Indigenous content.

Each November, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to the RNCI Red Nation Awards, broadcast LIVE on Red Nation Television Network. Hundreds of movie lovers tune in to watch who will receive the highest honors in American Indian & Indigenous filmmaking.

The Festival features the only film competition in the world that offers guaranteed distribution of American Indian & Indigenous Award winning independent films, as well as films that screen at the festival to include a broadcast television release in partnership with Red Nation Television Network™, a global provider of streaming movies and TV series and soon to be announced Festival’s native films televised on a Cable server provider.

The Festival is a showcase for new work by American Indian & Indigenous international independent filmmakers, bringing together decision makers and content creators with the goal of ensuring media representation of American Indian & Indigenous content to the world at large.

The Festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including addition programs Native Film Market™, The Pitch, Retrospectives, Red Nation Conversation Series™, and RNFF On the Road™ Tour in Santa Fe NM, France, Washington DC.

Founded in 1995 by Red Nation Celebration Institute founder Joanelle Romero, Award Winner filmmaker, actor and member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

“Hollywood & Indian Country’s Biggest Night for American Indian & Indigenous Voices™ Cementing American Indian at the forefront of the Entertainment Industry™”

RNCI RED NATION AWARDS. November 15th, 2020.

2020 will be the eighth consecutive year of streaming a LIVE broadcast of RNCI Red Nation Awards on Red Nation Television Network including a televised broadcast.

Recognizing excellence in cinematic achievements by American Indian & Indigenous filmmakers. Highlighting the very best contributions in film, television, comedy, music and the arts.



Since 2003, the RNCI Red Nation Awards has honored outstanding artistic achievements in television, film, comedy, music and the arts. The show is an integral part of RNCI’s mission and is held on the last day closing the Red Nation Film Festival. RNCI’s mission is to create greater opportunities for American Indian & Indigenous families in the United States. As a national television special with a cause, the RNCI Red Nation Awards demonstrates how inclusion strengthens the entertainment industry and diversity strengthens our country by promoting fair, accurate, and representative portrayals of American Indian & Indigenous image.

This November will be yet another year of a “LIVE” broadcast of RNCI Red Nation Awards, held in the Entertainment Capital of the World, marking yet another historic phenomenon, cementing native image at the forefront of the industry, highlighting the very best American Indian & Indigenous contributions to film, television, comedy, music and the arts.

Each November, in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to RNCI Red Nation Awards. Interest and anticipation builds as we lead up to the RNCI Red Nation Awards LIVE telecast on Red Nation Television Network, when hundreds of movie lovers tune in to watch the glamorous ceremony and learn who will receive the highest honors in native filmmaking.

RNCI Red Nation Awards are the Oscars blended with Emmys, the highest film awards in Los Angeles for American Indian & Indigenous Cinema

“Hollywood has Oscar, Broadway has Tony, Television has the Emmy, and now American Indian has the Red Nation Film Award of Excellence” And the Winner is …

About Red Nation Film Award of Excellence

Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards Show honors accomplishments of Independent Motion Pictures and Documentaries, which are produced, directed, written, and starring American Indians. Honorees include individuals who have made advancements in film, radio, television, media, environment, social justice, human rights, career accomplishments in the arts, volunteerism, and cultural affairs.

Red Nation Film Festival & Awards buzz has began! The Red is Green Carpet will be rolled for A-Listers, Native Celebrities for the world to see!

RNFF attracts exceptional work from filmmakers of all levels of experience - from talented first-timers to industry heavyweights like Benito Del Toro, Edward James Olmos and Summit Entertainment.

THE BUZZ HAS BEGAN! The Red is Green Carpet will be rolled for A-Listers, Native Celebrities, this November. Filmmakers know creating publicity is incredibly valuable for their projects and future endeavors.


PEER REVIEW – our judges are award-winning filmmakers and professionals from within the Entertainment Industry and native communities.
IMDB - Red Nation Film Festival is IMDB approved and can be listed on your IMDB page!
PUBLICITY ENHANCEMENT – Winners are announced to a database of 50,000+ email
industry professionals as well as additional international media outlets.
SOCIAL MEDIA PUSH – Facebook and Twitter announcements of winners and updates from our filmmaking community can be shared with your own lists.


The following is an explanation of the Rules and Guidelines governing the submissions of a film to the 2020 Red Nation International Film Festival. Compliance with these Rules and Guidelines is necessary in order to participate in the Film Festival. Submission of a film implies unconditional acceptance of the Rules & Guidelines, therefore, please carefully read through the Rules prior to submitting your film. If you have any questions, please contact the Red Nation International Film Festival: or 818.665.5753.

** RNIFF accepts films that are made of/about North American Indian, First Nation Peoples of Canada and International Indigenous Peoples from Mexico, South America, Australia, Brazil and Alaska.

** Films must have been made between December 2019 - September 2020 to be considered.

** Filmmakers once you submit to Red Nation International Film Festival, you agree not to submit/screen your film in any other native film festival in local areas of Los Angeles, Hollywood, or Temecula, during the month of November. Please call if you have any questions: 818.665.5753.

1. The Red Nation International Film Festival accepts submissions for films in the following categories: Narrative Feature, Narrative Short (30 minutes), Animated (30 minutes), Documentary Feature, Doc Shorts (30 minutes), Experimental Shorts, International Indigenous Narrative Features & Shorts, and Student Film.

2. The Entrant/s submitting the film must hold all legal rights for the submission, as well as all necessary clearances for public exhibition.

3. The Filmmaker/s retain/s all submission and intellectual property rights.

4. Films may be submitted electronically via FilmFreeway ( OR Vimeo with the completed submission form and correct entry fee.

5. The electronic submissions should be formatted for NTSC and labelled with Title, Running Time.

6. To submit film via Log onto the website, set up an account, and submit your film to RNIFF. Your fee will also be taken over the internet. After submitting your film through FFW.

7. The Filmmaker/s is/are responsible for making sure all submission material are submitted by the submission deadline indicated. If your film does not arrive or is not uploaded by the deadline for which you have registered, you may be required to pay the higher submission fee or withdrawn.

8. The following concerns submission deadlines and submission fees. Note, the deadlines are not the postmark dates, but the dates by which the submission must be in the RNIFF office or registered with FilmFreeway. Each submission must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. Submission fees are in are U.S. Dollars per submission and is non-refundable. These fees may be paid by check, cashier’s check, money order, made payable to: Red Nation Celebration Institute. Cash is not accepted.

9. If a film received 50% or more of it’s funding from sources outside of the United States, the film can only be submitted as an International Film. If a film received 50% or more of it’s funding from sources within the United States, the film can only be submitted as a Domestic Film.

10. All films must be in English or with English subtitles. Non-English language films without subtitles will be considered under special circumstance.

11. Please test your media prior to submission to make sure they run properly and are not damaged.

12. The RNIFF is not responsible for any damage to materials that occurred while in transit. If your film arrives damaged, we will contact you to request another copy.

13. Filmmakers are allowed to submit more than one film for the Festival provided that each film is submitted separately and meet RNFF guidelines.

14. Filmmakers are allowed to resubmit a film that was previously submitted provided significant changes were made and all eligibility requirements are met. When re-submitting the film, include a brief letter detailing the changes made.

15. A student submitting a film must provide a photocopy of a current and valid student ID or a letter from his/her school verifying enrollment.

16. Entrants may contact the RNIFF to find out if the Festival received the submission: or (818) 665.5753. Filmmakers submitting through FilmFreeway can check their status through the website.

17. The Filmmaker is responsible for all shipping costs, domestic or international.

18. All personal contact information is to remain confidential and not to be shared with any third parties.

19. RNIFF reserves the right to use images from films selected in the Festival for marketing purposes.

20. All decisions regarding award winners are considered final and incontestable.

21. Los Angeles Premiere is not required but the programing team may consider a films local premiere status when making final decisions.

Overall Rating
  • Kaela Waldstein

    An honor for "Becoming: ORLANDO DUGI" to be included in this event, the largest Indigenous film festival in the US. I especially enjoyed our Q&A with the founder and president, Joanelle Romero, who clearly has a genuine and passionate appreciation for film and filmmakers, and has a lot of dedication to make this event happen year after year, Covid or no.

    November 2020
  • So honoured to be part of the RNIFF and such a rich selection of films. The organisers were great at reaching out, and promoting the participating films and film makers through interesting and well curated side events. The world really needs festivals that promote native-/indigenous storytelling and for my film this was a great platform to reach a wide audience. Thank you so much to everyone at RNCI for the opportunity. You have my highest recommendations and kudos for pulling everything off with such passion during the pandemic. Lots of love.
    Qujanaq (thank you)

    November 2020
  • Gary Medina Cook

    This was a well organized festival and represented filmmakers well. I admire the dedication to advancing work from native filmmakers. The only downside was out of their control: the lockdown. I was looking forward to going to Los Angeles to network with folks. Even so, they did a good job regarding online communication. I would highly recommend this festival to all indigenous filmmakers.

    November 2020
  • Katsitsionni Fox

    I enjoyed being back at RNIFF with my new film Without A Whisper and the premier of new series -Rematriation. The festival was virtual this year and provided many opportunities for the filmmakers to share about their films. It is a unique and exciting festival for Indigenous filmmakers!

    November 2020
  • fogata films

    It's a virtual year. That changes how we share music, film, painting: the arts. I am a skeptic of virtual events personally.
    The incredible access skillfully created by Red Nation International Film Festival staff was impressive. Very smooth. It was an wonderful month to be part of RNIFF. Thanks so much! fogata films

    November 2020