August 11, 2013 at 11:39 AM

The 13th Annual Native American Cinema Showcase Is On!

'A treasure-packed morning, afternoon, and evening roster of features, documentaries, shorts and more.'

By Casey St. Charnez

Media Rare

Casey St. Charnez has been video editor for Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide since 1986 and buyer for Lisa Harris' Video Library since 1981. He likes Lisa, cats, crosswords, and the Metropolitan Opera, probably in that order.


This week, the New Mexico Museum of History is knee-deep in Indian Market activity, with free daily movies, as part of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ ancillary Native American Cinema Showcase, now in its 13th year.

A treasure-packed morning, afternoon, and evening roster of features, documentaries, shorts, works-in-progress, workshops, and panel discussions runs every day, from Monday August 12 through Sunday August 18

Some of the more intriguing presentations include: 

* Monday’s 7pm “The Lesser Blessed” (2012), about a Canadian 16-year-old on and off the rez;

* Tuesday’s 3pm “The Searchers” (1956), the classic John Ford/John Wayne western that may reveal a different subtext in a SWAIA context; 

* Wednesday’s 3:30-6pm “Images of Indians,” a five-part series originally shown in 1979-80 on PBS, narrated by the late Will Sampson, whose daughter will host discussion afterwards;

* Thursday’s 7pm program of juried film winners, including animated, narrative, documentary, and experimental shorts, plus the feature “Young Lakota” (2013), all repeated at 3pm Sunday;

* Friday’s 4:30pm “Future Voices of New Mexico,” showcasing film and video works by young Native artists;

* Saturday’s 9pm “The Dead Can’t Dance” (2011), a zombie/Indian flick at—please note--the Railyard, with an undead “Zombie Night in the Park” fest starting at 8:30pm

* and Sunday’s 1pm “Off the Rez” (2011) about Native women’s basketball in Oregon.

There’s a tantalizing rumor that the superbly Navajo-dubbed version of George Lucas’ Star Wars” (1977) might unspool at 9pm Saturday, but that’s unconfirmed. It’s the first major movie ever re-voiced in Navajo, and they’re supposed to have done a really good job, right down to the newly translated opening crawl. How I ached to be in Window Rock for the premiere July 3, but alas--I just couldn't manage it. This single Santa Fe showing isn’t officially on the schedule, so it’s a question of if, not when. Worse yet, I hear no plans to release it theatrically or to home media. So if this does show up, it’s a must-see.

More info:

* NM History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave., 505-476-5200 or

* Full schedule and notes here

And did I mention that it’s all free?