University of Idaho’s Tenth Annual Native American Film Festival, March 22-24

Tuesday, March 6 2012

By Donna Emert

MOSCOW, Idaho – The tenth annual Sapatq’ayn Cinema, University of Idaho’s Native American Film Festival, is set for March 22-24 at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center, 508 S. Main St. in Moscow.

This year's festival features diverse genres, including documentary, mockumentary, short feature and full-length feature films.

“Today film is the most powerful and accessible media form for contemporary Native American cultural and aesthetic expression,” said Janis Johnson, University of Idaho professor of English and acting coordinator of the American Indian studies program. “Sapatq'ayn Cinema is the only indigenous film festival in the region and offers a unique opportunity for the Inland Northwest community to interact with Native artists and their work.”

The festival is designed to increase awareness and appreciation of Native American issues and artistry.

Janet Kern, writer/director of "Horse Tribe," will screen her documentary – 10 years in the making – at the festival. Kern’s film focuses on the Nez Perce Tribal Horse program and was inspired by a 1997 New York Times article titled, "Tribe Famous for Horses Sees Future in Them."

A horsewoman of Scottish descent, Kern “immediately saw the epic dimension in this story,” she said. “The relation of human to animal, history to life, individuals to community, values to action, and the role of culture in the development of character are universal concerns, manifest in the singular experience of the Nez Perce... and in the company of horses.”

The program is a presentation of Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT).

While the films tell Native American stories and illustrate the artistry of Native writers, directors and actors, the lessons they teach are universal, Kern suggests.

“Aristotle defines happiness as ‘the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence, in a life affording them scope,’" said Kern. "The Nez Perce Tribe and a Navajo horseman engaged in such a quest. Amidst the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest, on a reservation where daily life is a fugue of grief and gumption and grace, foals were being born.”

The Sapatq’ayn Cinema Film Festival is sponsored by the University of Idaho American Indian studies program.

Festival Schedule:

Opening Night: Thursday, March 22, 7 p.m.
Ceremonial Opening with Nez Perce tribal elder Horace Axtell and the Vandal Nation drum group.

Short film, "Search for the World's Best Indian Taco," with writer/director Steven Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw).

Feature length mockumentary, "More Than Frybread," with writer/director/producer Travis Hamilton.

Second Night: Friday, March 23, 7 p.m.
Feature film, "Shouting Secrets," winner of Best Picture at the 2012 San Francisco American Indian Film Festival, introduced by director Korinna Sehringer.

Closing Night: Saturday, March 24th, 7 p.m.
"Horse Tribe," with writer/director Janet Kern, followed by a panel discussion.

For more information about the festival, contact Jan Johnson at or (208) 882-0109.
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