Indigenous Filmmakers Host Film Festival to Mark Brutal Holiday’s Legacy

A San Francisco affiliate of the American Indian Movement hosted its second annual International Film Festival on Monday.

By Jorge Rivas Oct 10, 2011

On what’s traditionally known as Columbus Day, a San Francisco affiliate of the American Indian Movement, AIM-West, hosted the second annual American Indian Movement International Film Festival. Organizers of the festival took a cue from the United Nations’ observance on this day as they celebrated indigenous filmmakers — instead of the brutality embodied by Columbus.

"What the United Nations was trying to declare was, ‘Make your own stories, produce your own movies,’ so it was to encourage the Indian people to get involved with filmmaking," says AIM-West Director Tony Gonzales during a recent conversation at a Bernal Heights cafe, reports.

The United Nations highlighted three indigenous directors from around the world, including Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, who is Iñupiat from Alaska and premiered his feature film "On the Ice" at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

"I think it’s possible for outsiders to have a complex viewpoint and be an observer with a kind of integrity… but I don’t think it’s possible for an outsider to write something inside. I think it’s only so far that you can go unless you grew up within," MacLean said at a press conference after being honored at Sundance, reports.

The American Indian Movement International Film Festival will begin and end today, on the day that’s commonly recognized as "Columbus Day." Today’s Love goes to Indigenous artists everywhere who are shaping and sharing stories with sensitivity of an insider.

If you can’t make it, it’s a great opportunity to check out some of the films they featured or check out the some of the work highlighted by the UN below:

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, "On the Ice."  

MacLean is Iñupiat from northern Alaska.

Per-Josef Idivuoma, "Curte-Nillas."
Per-Josef Idivuoma was born and raised in the village of Idivuoma in northern Sweden

We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.