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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Indigenous films

Films made by, for, and about indigenous and aboriginal peoples in various parts of the world. Among the earliest known indigenous films are those made by Navajo people as part of an experiment in indigenous image production conducted in the 1960s by US visual anthropologists Sol Worth and John Adair in an attempt at understanding ‘native’ ways of seeing the world (see ethnographic film). Indigenous peoples across the Americas soon became actively involved in self-representation through film and video production. In 1969, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) started producing films by native people as part of its ‘Challenge for Change’ training programme for indigenous filmmakers. Since the late 1960s in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and elsewhere in Latin America, documentary and political filmmaking has included work with and by native communities, often through the activities of grassroots video collectives (see politics and film). Many of these initiatives have involved setting up local independent arrangements for broadcasting, distributing, and exhibiting films and videos; while the work is also screened for international audiences at festivals devoted to indigenous films from around the world. The majority of indigenous films have been non-fictions, with influential examples including Yawar Mallku/Blood of the Condor (Jorge Sanjinés, 1968), a film by the Ukamau group in Bolivia about the forced sterilization of native women by US aid agencies; and NFB-based Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanensatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), documenting a standoff between native peoples and the government over a land dispute. Obomsawin is regarded as a key figure in the development of indigenous media in North America; as is Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayevsa, Jr, whose films and videos include Itam Hakim Hopiit (1980), featuring Hopi storytelling. Among indigenous filmmakers working in Australasia are Essie Coffey (My Survival as an Aboriginal (Australia, 1979)) and Tracey Moffatt (Nice Coloured Girls (Australia, 1987)). Films by Sami, the indigenous people of the Scandinavian Arctic, include Ofelaš/Pathfinder (Nils Gaup, Norway, 1987), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; and Kautokeino-opprøret/The Kautokeino Rebellion (Nils Gaup, Denmark/Norway/Sweden, 2008), a feature film about an ethnic-religious Sami revolt in 1852.    ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Indigenous film. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 Jan. 2021

In the library's collections/Searching the online catalog

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Other library resource(s)

Finding scholarly articles and journals for Indigenous films

You can find literature about Indigenous films in a variety of publications. However, you can use Web of Science to find scholarly or peer-reviewed articles quickly.

Internet resource(s)