Film Lineup Announced For The Second Annual Shining Mountains Film Festival

Film Lineup Announced For The Second Annual Shining Mountains Film Festival

As a celebration of Native American culture and history, Shining Mountains Film Festival returns October 13-14, 2019 to commemorate Indigenous People's Day which, as of 2017, the City of Aspen now celebrates in place of Columbus Day. Tickets for Shining Mountains Film Festival will go on sale September 9 at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970.920.5770/ Tickets prices range from $15-$20 per screening.

Shining Mountains Film Festival is a documentary film festival produced by the City of Aspen's Wheeler Opera House, in partnership with Aspen Film and Aspen Ute Foundation, focused on fostering Native American and indigenous peoples' storytelling through film and live events in a way that supports and engages indigenous media arts; authentically captures national and international indigenous voices; highlights the work of indigenous filmmakers and performers for diverse audiences; and breaks barriers of racism by replacing stereotypes with credible representations of Indigenous peoples' history, culture, and community.

Shining Mountains Film Festival Schedule:

Wheeler Program 1 | Movement and Meaning: Carrying on the Tradition

Sunday, October 13 | 3:00pm

Throat Singing in Kangirsuk (Canada 2018)

Eva Kaukai and Manon Chamberland practice the Inuk art of throat singing in their small village of Kangirsuk. Their mesmerizing voices carry through the four seasons of their Arctic land.

Names for Snow (Canada 2018)

This short follows Rebecca Thomassie, an Inuk woman, around Kangirsuk as she learns the 52 Inuktitut words for snow.

Sweetheart Dancers (United States 2019)

A story about Sean and Adrian, a Two-Spirit couple determined to rewrite the rules of Native American culture through their participation in the "Sweetheart Dance." This celebratory contest is held at powwows across the country, primarily for men and women couples, until now.

Sonny Side Up: The Road to Recovery (Canada 2015)

This film tells how a young man changes his life from drugs and alcohol to become a traditional dancer.

Carrying on the Tradition (Canada 2017)

Nimki is a young dancer from Wiikwemkoong. He has struggled with depression until traditional dancing reconnected him with his culture, his family, and himself.

Warrior Women (United States 2018)

The film is the story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The film unveils not only a female perspective of history, but also examines the impact political struggles have on the children who bear witness.

Film program special guests TBA

Wheeler Program 2 | Words from a Bear

Sunday, October 13 | 6:30 pm

That is All (United States 2018, directed/produced by Anna Robins, 19 mins)

This film by Anna Robins covers the beginnings of visual, Lakota artist, Dwayne Wilcox. From his family ranch on the Pine Ridge reservation, Dwayne discovered his love of drawing using available materials which led to his signature ledger-art style. Influenced by his culture, the unique humor found in his small community, and the events that shaped national and local history, you will see the stories jump from the page of Dwayne's work. Hop in the car and drive through the reservation to see how the success of Dwayne Wilcox unexpectedly came to be.

N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear (United States 2018, directed/produced by Jeffrey Palmer, 84 mins)

Journey into the mind and soul of Native America's most celebrated author of poetry and prose, Pulitzer Prize winning author Navarro Scott Momaday. Words from a Bear visually captures the essence of Momaday's writings and storytelling, relating each written line to his unique Kiowa/American experience representing ancestry, place, and oral history.

Film Program special guests TBA

Wheeler Program 3 | Blood Memory

Monday, October 14 | 6:30pm

Blood Memory: A story of removal and return (United States 2019, directed by Drew Nicholas, 107 mins)

Battles over blood quantum and 'best interests' resurface the untold history of America's Indian Adoption Era - a time when nearly one-third of children were removed from tribal communities nationwide. As political scrutiny over Indian child welfare intensifies, an adoption survivor helps others find their way home through song and ceremony.

Immediately following the film will be a panel discussion with Director Drew Nicholas, Film Subjects Sandy White Hawk and George McCauley, and Sheldon Spotted Elk of the Indian Child Welfare Program Office (Denver), moderated by Barbara Dills (Aspen Ute Foundation)

Additional festival guests and free community events will be announced in the coming weeks, including music, crafts, spoken word, and more.

The Shining Mountain Film Festival is presented in honor of Aspen's second year of declaring the second Monday in October "Indigenous Peoples' Day." As Aspen's first Native American film festival, the film festival celebrates the spirit of our nation's indigenous cultures. For more information about Shining Mountains Film Festival, please visit

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