The Native Eyes Film Showcase takes a different shape each year.
It started in 2004 related to a Navajo weaving exhibit at the University of Arizona. The screening of the documentary “The Return of Navajo Boy” included a panel discussion, said Lisa Falk, the Arizona State Museum’s education director.
There was also a program devoted to native women in film.
Since then, films have screened at a variety of theaters. There have been workshops with emerging filmmakers, and partnerships forged with communities such as the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, along with a variety of nonprofits and UA programs.
This year’s showcase opened with a screening of “Winter in the Blood” in collaboration with the Loft Film Fest Saturday. It included appearances by director Alex Smith and actor Chaske Spencer, known for his role in the “Twilight” saga.
Native Eyes partners again with the Loft for tonight’s screening of “Young Lakota,” about the political and personal impact that Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of the Oglala Sioux tribe, had when she challenged a South Dakota law criminalizing all abortion. The evening opens with “Red Girl’s Reasoning,” an 11-minute action-thriller short that shows the transformation of a sexual assault survivor-turned-motorcycle vigilante. Those screenings are offered in collaboration with the UA’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department with support from UA Libraries and UA’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy program.
Friday evening features a free program of 11 short films at the UA’s Center for Creative Photography. Filmmakers Melissa Henry, who is Navajo, and Ricardo Caté of the Santo Domingo Pueblo will attend.
Henry’s three films, all in Navajo, include “Run Red Walk” about a Navajo sheepdog on a quest to recover his flock; “Horse You See” about a horse with a knack for storytelling; and “Black Cat in Space,” a preview of a film about a cat who must travel across the galaxy to stop a monster.
Caté’s “Reservation Blues” is described as a lyrical and comical rendition of an afternoon’s transportation problems, while two brothers bond over their love for a TV show in “Happy Dayz.”
“The shorts program is a slice of life — of people being people. It’s got humor. It’s got love. It’s got a little bit of everything in it,” Falk said.
On Saturday there will be a filmmaking workshop at the Pascua Yaqui Education Center with Henry that is free for Native American high school and college students.
The showcase concludes next month with screenings offered as part of the Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. There will be screenings of films dealing with Native American basketry and the foodways traditions — the cultural, social and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food. The lineup has not yet been released.