PALM SPRINGS, CA—It is our distinct privilege to present our sixteenth Native FilmFest organized by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. The Museum is a non-profit organization with the mission to inspire people to learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures. We keep the spirit alive through exhibitions, collections, research, a variety of cultural events and educational programs. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is the first Native American museum to be part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program.

The festival is one of our signature events, and the nation’s most highly regarded events of its kind featuring the best in films by, about, and starring Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples from around the world.  This year we will showcase enlightening feature films, documentaries, and short films from some of today’s premier Native American and Indigenous filmmakers.

Guest Programmers, Director Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit, will lead Q & A sessions along with some of the directors and actors from the films. Director Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit are the founders and Co-Presidents of The Native Networkers. Chris Eyre is an award-winning director and producer of film and television. Dr. Joely Proudfit is a Professor and Chair of the American Indian Studies Department at CSU San Marcos and Director of the California Indian Culture & Sovereignty Center.

Present and future generations will benefit from this unique cultural resource. The festival will start with a vibrant, gripping and immersive documentary series, “RISE” that will take the audience to the frontlines of global Indigenous resistance. With showing this documentary, Agua Caliente Cultural Museum proudly joins the International Museum community that selected a daring theme for this year’s International Museum Day 2017—“Museums and Contested Histories: Saying the Unspeakable in Museums.”

It is our role as a museum to promote peaceful relationships between people. Acceptance of a contested history is the first step in envisioning a shared future under the opportunity of reconciliation.  As a museum, we also inspire, engage and encourage our audiences in a continued dialogue about challenge, culture and identity. For example, our last film, “Te Ata” (TAY’ AH-TAH), is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become of one of the greatest Native American performers of all time.

More information is available at

We look forward to welcoming you to the Sixteenth Native FilmFest 2017!

Written By Julia Bussinger