|Written by Jennifer Fairbanks,
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Every year, the Augsburg Native American Film Series (ANAFS) holds various film events that serve as a venue for Native American filmmakers and films. Past series have focused on topics such as urban homelessness, Native identity, and the lasting effects of cultural genocide.
This year the ANAFS presents a collaborative project with the Phillips Indian Educators called Where Condor Meets Eagle: Indigenous Bolivian and Native American Film Festival and Cultural Exchange. According to the event's website, the three-night film festival will be celebrating indigenous film, collaborations across national boundaries, and visual storytelling.
The theme for the festival stems from the Augsburg College Center for Global Education's 2010 Bolivian travel seminar "When Indigenous Peoples Lead". The trip brought several local educators, artists, and community members to Bolivia's indigenous communities. The seminar focused on what having its first ever indigenous President, Evo Morales, means for Bolivia and the changes in their government. Jim Rock helped to plan this year's film festival and had lived in Bolivia for a year prior to participating in the seminar.
"It was very powerful for me to see our brothers and sisters in the South and to see how their lives were like ours in the North and the effects of colonization," Rock said.
The event website states the title, Where Condor Meets Eagle, reflects the indigenous prophecy that when the condor representing South America, meets the eagle representing North America, the Indigenous continent will be healed.
"There is this connection that we still have. The prophesy is about the condor and eagle flying together again and indigenous people waking up. We're going to be waking up to the pre-colonization time from 500 years back. It's about learning from each other and getting stronger," said Rock.
An agreement emerged out of a meeting between the Vice Ministry of Decolonization in Bolivia and the Phillips Indian Educators of Minneapolis to work together to educate and promote healthy indigenous communities through decolonization and self-determination. ANAFS's Director, M. Elise Marubbio, was a participant in the seminar.
Marubbio has been running the film festival since 2004. Usually the events feature one filmmaker and focus on one of their films. Where Condor Meets Eagle is the first event from the collaborative agreement with Bolivia. Marubbio felt one of the ways to celebrate the larger project was through a special film festival by the ANAFS. The films being shown were chosen by Marubbio specifically to cover topics she felt were important to all indigenous communities.
"I picked ones out that I thought provided scope across different indigenous filmmakers and that highlighted the kind of issues they're working with," Marubbio said.
The event will be held over three nights with a different theme each night. The themes include language and culture; contemporary issues; and traditional stories. Many of the filmmakers will be present at to participate in discussions about their films, Indigenous cultures, and issues that Indigenous people are facing today.
Both Rock and Marubbio hope the people who attend Where Condor Meets Eagle will take away an appreciation for indigenous film and a greater understanding of Bolivia and the challenges within all indigenous communities.
"I want to get across that idea of media literacy and helping to break down stereotypes that we all face on a daily basis. I hope someone who comes can walk away and say they really learned something they might have not given much thought to and say it changed their perspective," said Marubbio.
"Hopefully it'll get people up here [in the North] to thinking about our relatives in the South and how we're all in it together," added Rock.
Where Condor Meets Eagle is supported by various organizations and individual donors including the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and the Cinematography Education and Production Center (CEFREC).
To see the line up of films, dates, times and locations, see the website online at:
The film series is being held March 16-18 at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. All ANAFS events are free to the public.