Beyond Borders Film Festival opens with two days of Native films

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As spring makes it way to the Twin Cities, so will some new films promoting cultural understanding of people across the globe. This is the primary mission of the Beyond Borders Film Festival, which features films and cultural performances with a strong emphasis on cultural heritage. The festival will become a permanent fixture in the Twin Cities’ arts scene, appearing annually.

“My hope for the festival is to use film to bring together people from different communities and cultures, people who would not ordinarily be sitting in the same room together,” says festival founder Cortland Dahl, who divides his time between Minneapolis; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Bodhgaya, India.  

“Our aim is to show

artistically significant films that also have the power to inform

people about the world’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage, about

the important issues that are confronting our world, and to inspire

them to get involved at a grassroots level.”

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From

March 25 through March 29, the Beyond Borders Film Festival will

showcase a variety of films at the Parkway Theater in South

Minneapolis. Beyond Borders Film Festival, presented by the Rimé

Foundation, features films and cultural performances to raise awareness

of the need for more international cross-cultural understanding, to get

the general public involved in cross-cultural exchanges, and to promote

local cultural and social organizations.

The

five-day festival will open with two days of films and performances by

and about Native Americans. The White Earth Urban Community Council

will host a drum group, and dancers. Speakers include Ojibwe advocate

and writer Winona LaDuke, local film producer Sydney Beane,

award-winning Mohawk writer/director Tracey Deer, and Minneapolis

filmmaker Missy Whiteman.

The

line-up of films include “Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil

Rights” in its Twin Cities premiere, by Beane; “Mohawk Girls” and “Club

Native,” award-winning documentaries by Deer; and “Older Than America,”

a feature-length film by Georgina Lightning.

“Older

Than America”, shot in Cloquet, MN, and on the Fond du Lac Reservation,

examines the often-traumatic experience of Native American children in

boarding schools at the turn of the 20th Century.

“Before

Tomorrow” will be kicking off the Beyond Borders Film Festival and has

won the best Canadian first feature award at the Toronto International

Film Festival, Best Feature Film award at imagineNATIVE 2008, Best

Feature Film award at the 33rd Annual American Indian Film Festival in

San Francisco, Best Feature Film award at Winnipeg Aboriginal Film

Festival, and Canada’s Best Top Ten from the Toronto International Film

Festival Group.

March

27 will feature films spotlighting Buddhist wisdom. These films examine

how the ancient wisdom of Buddhism is being applied in an increasingly

diverse range of settings.

The

festival will continue on March 28 and March 29 with the screening of

new, A-list independent films from emerging American directors, as well

as new world cinema from countries including India, China, Canada, and

Turkey.

Throughout

the festival, there will be special programming for children to

encourage them to learn about different people and cultures. The

children’s film program will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday

mornings and will include a variety of animated film shorts. Thursday

and Friday’s kids’ program will include a performance by an Ojibwe

storyteller.

The festival runs from March 25-29. Tickets: $10

per screening for adults; $5 per screening for children. For info, see:

www.beyondbordersfilmfestival.com. Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Ave.,

Minneapolis. 612-822-3030.

Native Films Schedule:

March 25

• 6:30 pm: Native American drum group and dancers.

• 7:00 pm: Ojibwe activist and writer Winona LaDuke.

• 7:30 pm: Screening of “Before Tomorrow” which depicts the physical and spiritual struggles of an Inuit woman and her grandson.

9:15 pm: Introduction by filmmaker Sydney Beane and screening of

“Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights” which chronicles

American Indian struggles for civil rights and the creation of the

National Indian Lutheran Board to raise funds and awareness.

March 26

5 pm: Screening of “Mohawk Girls” (directed by Tracey Deer) which

presents an insider’s look at life on the Kahnawake Reservation.

7 pm: Screening of “Club Native” (directed by Tracey Deer) which

investigates both sides of the controversial blood-quantum issue

through stories of people from the Kahnawake Reservation.

• 9

pm: Screening of “Older Than America” (directed by Georgina Lightning)

which delves into the lasting impact of the cultural genocide and loss

of identity that occurred at Native American institutions across the

U.S. and Canada.