Natives in Charge of Their Narrative. Who Tells The Story Matters.
Creating Systemic Change through the Arts and Media.

RNIFF is the first and largest Global Native Women-Led, Indigenous Film Festival and Awards Ceremony. Presented by Red Nation Celebration Institute, founded in 1995, the Creative Enterprise by Natives delivering to all people the stories that shape our world. RNCI is the longest standing Native Women-Led, Indigenous Media, Arts & Cultural federally recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit enterprise organization in the entertainment industry.

Red Nation International Film Festival runs November 1-30. 2024 [IN PERSON & VIRTUAL CINEMA].

Founders Message - RNCI is dedicated to changing the narrative about Native peoples on a global scale. Joanelle built the Red Nation Celebration Institute, now in its 29th; 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 29 year history of cohesive research-informed strategies, ground-breaking initiatives, though cinematic excellence, media and strong focus on partnerships. It's the storytellers that will continue to uplift us, to inspire us, to motivate us and to encourage us to think differently.'

Joanelle Romero CEO/Founder/President of Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI), First Native Indigenous Filmmaker short-listed for an Academy Award (2000). Joanelle coined #NativesInChargeOfTheirNarrative #WhoTellsTheStoryMatters #WhyWeWearRED #OnlyOneWater.

WELCOME to the
29th RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival™ (RNIFF) & Awards The Authentic Voice of Native & 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 Native & Indigenous Filmmakers at the forefront of the entertainment industry and to introduce Native & Indigenous 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 Indigenous Academy for Cinematic Arts / Native Youth Matter™ – If I Can See It I Can Be It.™


Founded in 1995 by Joanelle Romero, Red Nation International Film Festival (RNIFF) is the first Native Indigenous FILM festival in the Entertainment Capital of the world, Hollywood, under the parent organization Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI). Red Nation International Film Festival has become the largest Native Indigenous Film Festival in the world. Founder was revolutionary, unapologetic in bringing Native Indigenous Cinema to the Silver Screen, in amplifying Native Indigenous Filmmakers to the Entertainment Industry and to film enthusiasts. RNIFF is a dedicated venue to experience Native Indigenous Cinema.

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 is Back, Retrospectives, Red Nation Conversation Series™, Masterclasses, and RNIFF On the Road™ Tour in Santa Fe NM, France, Washington DC, New York.

RNCI History

RNCI first started out screening Native Indigenous films at Universities and on reservations across Indian Country America under Red Nation Screening Series. RNCI renamed its series to Red Nation International Film Festival in 2003.

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

Meet the RNCI Board of Directors

“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 17, 2024.

2024 will be the eleventh 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 1995, 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 International 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!

RNIFF attracts exceptional work from filmmakers of all levels of experience - from talented first-timers to industry heavyweights like Benito Del Toro, Edward James Olmos, Graham Greene 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 International 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 Instagram 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 2024 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, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and International Indigenous Peoples from Mexico, South America, New Zealand.

** Films must have been made between September 2023 - September 2024 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, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short (40 minutes), Animated (40 minutes), Doc Shorts (40 minutes), International Indigenous Narrative Features, Music Videos.

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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Rating
  • Shining a Light on Resilience: A Poignant Review of RNCI Red Nation Film Festival

    The Red Nation International Film Festival is more than just a showcase of incredible Native cinema; it's a celebration of our stories, our struggles, and our unwavering spirit. This year, I was particularly moved by the experience, thanks in part to our film, "Native Hope Champions: Riding for the Missing," winning Best in Category.

    From the moment we stepped onto the red carpet, we felt embraced by the warmth and energy of the entire Indigenous community. The festival fostered a vibrant atmosphere where filmmakers, actors, and viewers could connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. The diverse selection of films offered a powerful window into the richness and complexity of Native life, tackling historical injustices, contemporary challenges, and the enduring strength of our cultures.

    The RNCI Red Nation Film Festival is a must-attend event for anyone who appreciates impactful storytelling and wants to celebrate the power of Indigenous voices. It's not just a film festival; it's a movement, a platform for amplifying our stories and showcasing the talent within our community.

    Here are just a few highlights that made this year's festival exceptional:
    Culturally relevant programming: The festival expertly curated films that reflected the diversity of Native experiences, from historical dramas to contemporary comedies.
    Empowering atmosphere: The festival fostered a strong sense of community and provided a platform for Indigenous voices to be heard.
    Outstanding talent: The films showcased the incredible talent of Native actors, directors, and filmmakers from across the globe.
    Meaningful awards: Winning Best in Category with "Native Hope Champions: Riding for the Missing" was a powerful validation of our film's message and impact.
    Thank you, RNCI Red Nation Film Festival, for providing such a vital platform for Native cinema. We can't wait to see what stories you'll bring to the screen next year!

    December 2023
  • Being part of this amazing festival was a truly wonderful and joy fullfilling experience. Women are at the core of this festival and of our ever changing world, and for the best. I loved every minute ofthis festival. Red Nation Festival is a shining and moving star, effectivily changing the core of the film industry, as much as it is possible to do so, one film after another. Long live the Queens! Merci de l'accueil fait à mon film, à mon Ourse bleue, BBW was there!! -Claude Hamel, réalisatrice, scénariste, productrice.

    December 2023
  • Nathaniel Fuentes

    The Red Nation International Film Festival is an amazing film festival that included films of the highest caliber of content from Indigenous filmmakers and indigenous communities from all over the world. The ability to have been selected was humbling and validating to be included within this class of producers, filmmakers, writers, cinematographers, actors, and production crews. The opportunity to network and to share experiences and ideas with others who were a part of the festival is an amazing chance to truly change the canon and perspective of indigenous peoples, indigenous content, and how indigenous stories are seen by the world. I'm truly grateful and privilege to have been a part of this long advocate and agency of indigenous peoples, filmmakers, and their stories.

    December 2022
  • Leslie Bland

    It was a great honour to be included in the Red Nation International Film Festival two years in a row. An excellent well run festival! Huy ch q'u si'em! Harold Joe and Leslie Bland

    December 2022
  • Gustavo Vazquez

    It has been an honor to share our documentary "The Keepers of Corn" at this highly important Film festival that showcases Indigenous voices. The organizers of the festival created an unforgettable awards ceremony. An event with a lot of heart.

    December 2021