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Film series at St. Mary's College features acclaimed filmmakers

St. Mary’s City, Md. - The department of theater, film, and media studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland will host its eleventh annual film series, “Visions and Voices: Indigenous Media from the Americas,” at 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 19, Sept. 24, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22. The series will take place in the College’s Cole Cinema, Campus Center, and will highlight the works of four award-winning filmmakers. The film series is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mark Rhoda at marhoda@smcm.edu or 240-895-4231, or visit the TFMS website at www.smcm.edu/events/theater-film-and-media-studies-events/film-series-schedule/

About the film series:

This year’s series will foreground the diversity of Indigenous media from the Americas, including works from Canada (Anishinaabe, Michif, Algonquin, Cree) and Central/South America (Guatemala, Brazil, Peru, Argentina).  Works by filmmakers Neil Diamond (Cree) and Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe) from Canada and Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento (Quechua) from Peru will highlight the series, with a special screening on Oct. 2 of Indian Himalayan ethnographer Stanzin Dorjai’s “The Shepherdess of the Glaciers.”

Media and cultural studies scholar Amalia Córdova, digital curator of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C., will open the series with a presentation on the work of North and South American media-makers. Her talk will contextualize and underscore the range of global Indigenous media forms, including those that will constitute subsequent film series screenings: animation, feature-length documentary, fiction, and experimental.

Detailed schedule:

Monday, Sept. 17, at 8:15 p.m.: Presentation by Amalia Córdova on Indigenous media practices and makers from both a local and global perspective. A Q&A follows the presentation.

Monday, Sept. 24, at 8:15 p.m.: Screening of “Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian” (2009) from one of Canada’s foremost Aboriginal filmmakers and photographers Neil Diamond. “Reel Injun” deconstructs the mythology of “the Injun” as Hollywood has determined it from the early days of silent film production. Diamond’s film looks at how this myth of the “reel Injun,” durable as it is, has influenced and shaped our understanding—and gross misapprehension—of Native peoples. A Q&A with director Diamond follows the screening.

Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8:15 p.m.: Special screening of “The Shepherdess of the Glaciers” (2016), Himalayan director Stanzin Dorjai’s beautifully photographed film of his sister Tsering’s life as one of the last shepherdesses who still lives with her flocks of goats and sheep in the heights of the Gya-Miru valley in Ladakh, in the vast trans-Himalayan mountain desert in the northernmost part of India.  A harsh and precarious life, often solitary, mishandled by difficult climatic conditions and a sometimes-hostile nature, does not prevent Tsering from singing, laughing, and even philosophizing about her life and work. A Q&A with director Dorjai follows the screening.

Monday, Oct. 15, at 8:15 p.m.: Screening of a program of short films. With the participation of Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson (animator/live-action, Canada), who shall lead the post-screening Q&A, this program of short films (lasting approximately 1.5 hours) will include animation and live-action experimental and fiction filmmaking. Films to be screened: “Suckerfish,” “Savage,” “Snare” [Jackson]; “Mia,” “Flood,” “Indigo” [Amanda Strong, Michif, Canada]; “Mobilize,” “Ikwe,” “Creatura Dada” [Caroline Monnet, Algonquin, Canada]; “Kat waj” [Teresa Jiménez, Ladino, Guatemala]; “The Maxakali Flood” [Isael Maxacali and Charles Bicalho [Maxakali, Brazil]; “The Way is Long” [Edgar Sajcabún, Guatemala]; and “Doña Ubenza,” [Juan Manuel Costa, Argentina].

Monday, Oct. 22, at 8:15 p.m.: Screening of “Green River: The Time of the Yakurunas” (2017) and “Sonia’s Dream” (2015) from Peruvian directors Alvaro and Diego Sarmiento. Guided by Ayahuasca chants, “Green River” is a poetic journey into the depths of the Amazon. The film explores the perception of time in three small villages intertwined by the flowing waters of the Amazon river, immersing the viewer in a landscape inhabited by shamans and ancient societies that are in danger of disappearing due to global capitalism. “Sonia’s Dream,” Diego Sarmiento’s 14-minute film, traces Sonia Mamani’s travels from her island home in southern Peru’s Lake Titicaca, where she developed a culinary expertise from an early age, across the South American continent as she teaches women how to prepare traditional dishes and to appreciate their local, indigenous customs. A Q&A with director Alvaro Sarmiento follows the screening.

Noteworthy in relation to the film series’ focus on Indigenous media, the theater, film, and media studies department and the VOICES Reading Series at St. Mary’s College will co-sponsor President Tuajuanda Jordan’s guest on November 15, 2018 – celebrated, Pulitzer Prize-winning Native American (Kiowa) novelist, N. Scott Momaday, perhaps best known in this country for his breakthrough novel for Native American literature, “The House Made of Dawn.” At 7:15 p.m. in Daugherty-Palmer Commons, Dr. Momaday will speak on “Native American Oral History: The Stories and the Storyteller” and on “The Language of Creativity: Writing, Painting, and Imagination.”

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.

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