The National Museum of the American Indian Film and Video Center is the best source for information on indigenous film in North America as well as on Latin America. The FVC serves both as an archive of indigenous film and a center for their promotion via screenings, sponsoring of festivals and video tours in the U.S. and Mexico (such as the “Eye of the Condor” and “Video Mexico Indígena” tours) and providing networking and publicity for visiting filmmakers. FVC Director Elizabeth Weatherford notes that the Archive contains 2,500 titles, the full catalog of which is maintained internally by Film and Video Center staff. While the archive has moved to the Mall in Washington D.C., the promotional section of the FVC remains in New York City. The FVC is available for reference consultations, referrals to distributors of indigenous film and on-site viewing of films by appointment only. Since the Archive has recently moved to Washington D.C., it is advisable to call ahead for current policies, although there is a viewing collection in the Resource Centers in NYC and DC.
The two-volume Native Americans on Film and Video produced by the FVC staff serves as a retrospective catalog for the collection, covering works from the beginning of the century through the 1980s. It includes an annotated listing of films, distributor information and prominent collections of Native American film and is supplemented by an online counterpart called “Native Networks” or “Redes Indígenas” (http://www.nativenetworks.si.edu/frameset_flash.html). This bilingual website contains a wealth of information on indigenous film and radio including information for youth media makers; a listing of past and current festivals and corresponding programming; PDF catalog searchable by title, director, region and tribe; close-ups on filmmakers and video collectives; a resource list of film/video and radio organizations and distributors from some Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. The NMAI also sponsors the biennial Native American Film and Video Festival which covers all of the Americas. To keep abreast of the current work of the FVC and its catalog, it is best to obtain the annual festival schedule and NMAI Events calendars because the PDF catalog was last updated July 2001. NMAI events are posted on the Museum website at http://www.nmai.si.edu, but I feel that the most comprehensive version is available in print at the Museum.
This website contains a list of resources (producers, distributors, online catalogs and festivals) – that supplements the indispensable work of the NMAI FVC – and is intended to help you identify and obtain indigenous film and video.