The gathering spot celebrates Native culture and offers the opportunity to hear from Native voices in film and television.
PARK CITY, UTAH -- The 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, the world's premier showcase for independent film, kicked off Thursday, and this year's lineup of feature films includes movies from 24 countries, covering nearly all genres.
Among those are films by Indigenous filmmakers like "The Moogai," a psychological horror about an Aboriginal mother who believes a dark spirit wants to steal her baby. Also on the list is the documentary "Sugarcane," which tells the story about the abuse of children at an Indian residential school.
This year also marks the return of Indigenous House, a gathering spot to celebrate Native culture and to hear from Native voices in film and television. Among the highlights at Indigenous House was a fireside chat with Sydney Freeland, a director and executive producer of the Marvel series "Echo," the first superhero series to center around a deaf and a Native American character.
"We're not dealing with the fate of the universe. We don't have like this huge cosmic kind of consequences. We get to tell a story about a community, a family, and something that is, hopefully, a little more human," she said.
Indigenous House also hosted a conversation with Tazbah Chavez, a writer-director of the critically acclaimed Hulu series "Reservation Dogs."
"'Reservation Dogs' is told in a rhythm that I think a lot of Native communities are familiar with," said Chavez. "It's what we hear in our songs, our stories, our ceremonies, and we had the honor to be able to put that on its feet in a TV show format."
"Reservation Dogs" emphasized the importance of authentic representation of Native and Indigenous communities in the film and television industry.
"It's transcended, it's universal. People love good TV, and I think that's the reason Res Dogs is so popular."
The show featured many familiar Native actors over its run, including a guest-starring role for Lily Gladstone, who could make history as the first Native American to win a competitive acting Oscar for her performance in Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon." Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
You can certainly expect to see even more Indigenous stories being told in the future at Sundance. The Sundance Institute recently received a $4 million endowment from a Northern California tribe meant to support Indigenous filmmakers, the largest endowment in Sundance history.
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