In this short film directed by Elizabeth Day (Anishinabe), St. Paul, MN, a grandmother tells her granddaughter an Ojibwe story revealing why the sticks used to gather wild rice are "magic wands." Immersed in the unfamiliar terrain of lake marshes he learns to master the artful skill of knocking wild rice and discovers the strength of spirit required to harvest this staple. As the grandmother narrates the tale in Ojibwe, she answers her granddaughter's question about the sacredness and importance of wild rice to the Ojibwe people.
2010 | 90 minutes | Directed by Armand Garnet Ruffo
Winner of 2010 Best Picture, Best performance by an actress (Andrea Menard) & Best performance by an actress in a supporting role (Jani Lauzon) from The American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA. Filmed on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario and in the Ottawa Valley, A Windigo Tale is Ojibwe poet Armand Garnet Ruffo's directorial debut. Produced on a shoe-string budget, in demanding conditions, Ruffo's feature-length film moves between the breathtaking beauty of a road trip in autumn and the stark winter landscape of a First Nations community. Harold, a Native grandfather (Gary Farmer), desperate to save his troubled grandson Curtis (Elliot Simon) from a life on the street, shares the dark secrets of their family and community. In an isolated village, an estranged mother, Doris (Jani Lauzon), and daughter, Lily (Andrea Menard), must reunite to exorcise the voracious Windigo spirit tied to a painful past. Inspired by Ojibwe spirituality and based on the history of the residential school system, where generations of Native children were forcibly removed from their families and aggressively assimilated into Euro-Canadian society, A Windigo Tale is both a chilling and redeeming drama. Parental Guidance Recommended.
Frybread Ninja: The Birth
2011 | 5 minutes | Directed by Hasaanah Abdul Wahid, MIGIZI Communications
An assassin eats frybread and decided to become a vigilante do-gooder. Produced by students from MIGIZI Communications 2011 Summer Media Institute.
2009 | 97 minutes| Written and Directed by Rodrick Pocowatchit
The world's first Native American zombie comedy/drama! Best Native Film at the 2010 Indie Spirit Film Festival. Nominated for Best Director and Best Actor (Rodrick Pocowatchit) at the American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, 2010. The Dead Can't Dance follows three Native American men who discover they are somehow immune to a virus that is killing everyone else and turning them into zombies. The men get stranded in the middle of Kansas, seek refuge in a remote school and must put aside their petty differences to survive the macabre night. Made in Kansas, the film is a testament to Wichita's film-loving community. More than 100 extras were used in the film, which was shot in 2009 over the course of four months.
Life In The 7th Prophecy
2009 | 7 minutes | Produced by the artists of Project Preserve, IN PROGRESS
Life In The Seventh Prophecy tells the story of the seven fires and the role of this generation in bringing positive change to the Anishinaabe people. Best Experimental Documentary - Cowichan Film Festival. Directed by students from Red Lake High School, 2009.
Behind the Door of a Secret Girl
2010 | 100 minutes | Directed by Janessa Starkey and Jack Kohler
Janessa Starkey was 14 when she began writing the film "Behind the Door of a Secret Girl," a grim drama about a depressed American Indian teenager who lives on a reservation with her meth-addicted mother and an abusive cartel-connected drug dealer. The girl, Sammy, is a cutter, wounding her wrists with a knife in order to feel alive. David, Sammy's best friend, is a foster youth and helps her to escape from this dysfunctional life she's had to endure since her father died. Starkey, a member of the United Auburn Indian Community co-wrote and directed the film with the tribe's media director, Jack Kohler. Parental Guidance Recommended.