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15th Edition Native Women in Film Festival
The Matriarchs of Cinema™ | Women of Influence
Decolonizing The Entertainment Industry
The Week Leading to The Academy Awards®


Los Angeles – Every year, RED NATION CELEBRATION INSTITUTE celebrates the accomplishments of Native Women in Film & Television in All Media — with the NWIFTV Festival, running from March 1 to 8 strategically aligned for the week preceding the Academy Awards. The Festival stands as an exclusive showcase for films meticulously crafted by Native women directors. Amid the jubilant atmosphere of this cinematic celebration, Lily Gladstone emerges as a true victor, clinching prestigious awards including the SAG Award, Golden Globe, and Gotham Award.

Lily Gladstone’s exceptional work, a beacon of cinematic brilliance, first graced the screen at the 28th Red Nation International Film Festival in November 2023 with  “The Unknown Country.” The film not only captivated audiences but also earned nominations in distinguished categories, including Best Picture, Achievement in Directing, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Original Screenplay. As the NWIFTV festival unfolds,  excitement intensifies with the much-anticipated opening night screening of “The Unknown Country” on March 5th. The festival is poised not just to showcase but also to honor and elevate these outstanding cinematic achievements.

the Unknown Country

45 films directed by women will screen at the AMC The Grove 14 and stream on Red Nation Television Network. Over the course of the last seven years, NWIFTV has wholeheartedly championed screening an impressive 177 films directed by women.

This laudable initiative serves as a resounding testament to Red Nation Celebration Institute’s unwavering commitment to promoting inclusivity within the film industry. In a remarkable feat, we have even surpassed prominent film festivals like Toronto, Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, & The Academy Awards in the sheer numbers of women-directed films featured.

The Festival presents a diverse array of feature films, documentaries, and shorts that delve into pertinent issues of today, resonating not only within Indian Country but on a global scale.

Another NWIFTV spotlight feature is “Bones of Crows” which took home all awards at the 28th Red Nation International Film Festival last November for Best Picture, Achievement in Directing, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in Leading Role, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in Supporting Role, Best Original Screenplay. Director Marie Clements will be in attendance on March 6th for Q & A after screening.

Bones of Crows

As a highlight of the closing night, films including  “Bad River” (World Premiere) and “American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian” will grace the screen. The latter, recognized for its excellence, stands proudly short-listed for an Academy Award.

Enriching experience, several filmmakers will be present, engaging in Q&A sessions to provide deeper insights into the narratives and creative processes behind their impactful works.

The festival is set to kick off virtually with a captivating “Matriarchs in Indian Country” presentation on March 1st and 2nd. Following this, an engaging and thought-provoking dialogue unfolds with ‘The Conversation Series’ on March 3rd and 4th, skillfully hosted by Joanelle Romero. It promises to be a dynamic exploration of ideas, insights, and perspectives within the Indigenous narrative space.

The NWIFTV Festival will culminate on March 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles Beverly Hills with the NWIFTV Brunch, themed “Matriarchs of Cinema/Women of Influence Decolonizing the Entertainment Industry.” This event aims to bring together prominent women, executives, actresses, and filmmakers from our industry for a vital conversation. It underscores the significance of representation, firmly establishing Native and Indigenous women at the forefront of entertainment.

Esteemed attendees will include Joanelle Romero (Powwow Highway, Founder NWIFTV), Marie Clements (Bones of Crows), Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors), Tatanka Means (Killers of the Flower Moon), Irene Bedard (Alaska Daily), Kali Reis (True Detective) Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica, Dances With Wolves), Erica Gimpel (Mayfair Witches), Tonantzin Carmelo (LA Brea), Giselle Fernandez (LA Stories), Rebecca Brando (RNCI Board member), Susan Masten (RNCI board member), Zion White (Quechan Tribal Council Member-Xanapuk Land,Water,and Culture Conservancy Treasurer-RNCI board member), Daria Overby (Starz), and Cyndy McCrossen (Albuquerque Film Office). Additional special guests to TBA Soon!

Bonnie Abaunza
Talei Fernandez

This year’s NWIFTV Native Women Media Impact Award recipients are Bonnie Abaunza, whose life has been dedicated to humanitarian work, human rights, and social justice advocacy, and Talei Fernandez, a young woman of Indigenous Guatemalan descent who is serving as the first U.S. Youth Ambassador for Pope Francis’ foundation, Scholas USA, and its Pelota de Trapo program, which brings diverse youth together around civic engagement and service.

"I attended last year’s brunch and was blown away by the mother of one of the filmmaker's who closed the afternoon with a prayer. It was the first time I felt I was hearing the indigenous language of this land being spoken. The room became silent. There was a mutual feeling of profound gratitude and respect for all the women present… A special shared moment in time."

NWIFTV Festival is sponsored by Apple TV, Starz, Novo Foundation, National Empowerment for the Arts, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, Albuquerque Film Office, Abaunza Group, AMC Networks, Red Nation Films, Red Nation Television Network.

Stay Connected for daily update announcements here.


Native Women in Film & Television in All Media® (NWIFTV) RNCI designed this program to connect people with deeply moving stories of those within our community to lead the entertainment industry to become more inclusive of our storytellers. In 2018, NWIFTV launched a media campaign WHY WE WEAR RED bringing  global awareness to the lack of inclusion of Native Women in Film & Television, which is directly linked to the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Native Women & Girls.

Founded in 1995 as a Native Women in Music Festival in Santa Fe by actress/producer Joanelle Romero, the festival went on to have its own program of screenings at the Red Nation International Film Festival (The largest Native Indigenous Film Festival in the world) annually in November.

In 2003, the Native Women in Film & Television film festival became a stand-alone event that runs the week leading up to the Academy Awards. This year marks the 15th year for the Native Women in Film Festival.

Red Nation International Film Festival® (RNIFF) is a program of RNCI. Empowering Native Indigenous Storytellers Since 1995. It is the largest Native Indigenous Film Festival in the world and the first in Los Angeles.

Amplifying more than 5000+ Native and Indigenous content creators through its streaming service Red Nation Television Network, the platform supports 2700+ Native Indigenous filmmakers through its Red Nation International Film Festival, including films directed by women through its Native Women in Film & Television in All Media, since 1995. In the last six years RNCI has screened 162 films directed by women.

Los Angeles is home to the largest urban American Indian and Alaska Native population in the country, with over 200 tribes, including the original peoples of this land: the Tongva, Tataviam, and Chumash.

Red Nation Celebration Institute® (RNCI) The Creative Enterprise by Natives delivering to all people the stories that shape our world. It is the longest-running successful Native Women-Led Indigenous Media Arts and Cultural non-profit enterprise in the history of the entertainment industry. Serving over 575+ Native Nations in the U.S. and collectively on the planet 1200. Based in Los Angeles with an office in Santa Fe New Mexico.

Founded by Joanelle Romero in 1995 with the mission to break barriers of racism by creating systemic change through film and television in all media in order to eliminate American Indian stereotypes. Our vision for the future of cinema and the arts is one in which Native Indigenous perspectives are authentically pictured, recognized, and valued in a way that promotes strong authentic Native identities, economic outcomes, equity, and wellness for our Indigenous communities. RNCI Board of Directors  

Red Nation Television Network® Red Nation Television Network holds the distinction of being the world’s first streaming company, predating not only Netflix but all others, and stands as the longest-running Native Indigenous television network. The station delivers distinctive content encompassing Native Indigenous culture, heritage, education, entertainment, and lifestyle. 


Red Nation Media
Liz Kramer

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