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Why We Wear Red


32 films leading with Native women directors, surpasses Tribeca, Sundance, TIFF, AMPAS, and Cannes.

LOS ANGELES, California; March 7, 2023 — NWIFTV Native Women in Film Festival opened March 5th – featuring 32 films directed by women from a Native perspective – the largest number of films by Native women among film festivals this year.

The festival, which runs March 5-10 in the week leading up to the Academy Awards, puts a spotlight on films by Native women directors, including Darlene Naponse (Stellar), Anishnaabe; Jules Arita Koostachin (Broken Angel), Attawapiskat First Nation; and Payton Counts (In My Shoes), Ojibwe.

The films include feature films, documentaries and shorts addressing issues ranging from domestic violence and missing and murdered women to boarding school trauma and pipeline protests.

We have the largest number of films by Native women directors this year. We've surpassed all of them in numbers — Toronto Film Festival, Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca and the Oscars. It's been quite extraordinary. We are in our 14th year with NWIFTV film festival and the past six years our numbers are reflecting that we are leading the way for women directors from a native perspective.

The films will be screened at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills and streaming Red Nation Television Network, starting Sunday, March 5, and continuing through Friday, March 10. The Oscars air on Sunday, March 12.

The festival will also include a three conversation series, March 5th ‘Why We Wear RED’ – panelists include Jody Potts-Joseph, Activist Arctic Wild and mother of Quannah Chasinghorse, Jen Martel, Producer/Story Supervisor (OYATE), Aiko Little, Writer, Actor, Vice Chair WGA’s Indigenous Writer’s Committee, March 6 ‘Native Women Write’ – AMC Networks, Angela Molloy WEtv, Adam Koehler IFC, Mark Ward RLJE Films, Shelly Goldstein Writer, Script Doctor, Cyndy Mccrossen Albuquerque Film Office, Screenwriters Loretta Todd, Heather Dawn, Julianna Maggrah and March 7 ‘Directors Producers Roundtable’ – Tinia Witherspoon (Medicine and Obligations), Pam Palmater (Samqwan: Water), Misty Shipman (The Handsome Man), Hope Shipman (The Handsome Man), Sandra Lamouche (Red & White), hosted by Joanelle Romero.

NWIFTV will conclude March 10 with high-profile women in the industry, attending Frances Fisher (On Sacred Ground, Titanic), Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica, Dances With Wolves) AMC Network Executives, Alison Taylor (Location Managers Guild International)Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors), Kerry Knuppe (On Sacred Ground), Erica Gimpel (Mayfair Witches), Rebecca Brando and many others with a special event, “Matriarchs of Cinema/Women of Influence Decolonizing the Entertainment Industry.”

It's the first of its kind. It's our inaugural event for that. It'll be an annual event ... We're bringing together women, executives, actresses, filmmakers from our industry to have a conversation - representation matters and I am passionate in cementing Native and Indigenous women at the forefront of our Industry.

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

In 2003, the Native Women in Film & Television became a stand-alone film festival that runs in the week leading up to the Academy Awards. This year marks the 14th year for the Native Women in Film Festival.

Native perspectives

The festival will premiere features and other acclaimed films.

Highlights include:

  • ”Sacred Ground” inspired by real events, which follows a veteran war journalist who suffers from PTSD on a spiritual journey that takes him to Standing Rock protests over an oil pipeline. The film is directed by Rebecca Tickell and Josh Tickell, and stars William Mapother, Amy Smart, Mariel Hemingway, David Arquette, Irene Bedard, Kerry Knuppe, and David Midthunder.
  • ”Stellar” explores human connections to each other and Mother Earth through the story of a couple who find each other in a bar in northern Ontario after a meteorite drastically changes the planet outside. Written and directed by Darlene Naponse, Anishnaabe, the film stars Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Braeden Clarke and Rossif Sutherland.
  • ”Walking Two Worlds” a short film directed by Maia Wikler that follows breakthrough Indigenous model Quannah Chasinghorse and her mother, Jody Potts- Joseph, who take a stand to defend their sacred homelands.
  • ”In My Shoes” a feature film about high school students learning to support a friend who is struggling. Directed by Payton K. Counts and Sir Curtis Kirby III, and starring Jennifer E. Cortes-Sanchez, Nalia Segura Anderson and Simar Means.

There are some films that are in person and some streaming on our television network Red Nation Television Network. We just completed a total facelift of our television network. It is so amazing because we have new investors, and we were online streaming Native and Indigenous content including original programming before Netflix, or any other network or studio.

Following the success of its series, “Dark Winds,” AMC Networks has committed to indigenous stories with a partnership with the festival. As part of the partnership, AMC and Red Nation International Film Festival will promote Native stories and storytellers throughout the year with new mentoring and professional development initiatives for writers and filmmakers, with an emphasis on Native women creators.

AMC Networks will also partner with the festival on the “Native Women Write” and “Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts” programs, that focus on developing skills and career growth.

Looking ahead

As excited as Romero is for the Native Women in Film Festival, she is also looking forward to the big festival in November, the Red Nation International Film Festival.

The RNIFF festival, which bills itself as the “authentic voice of Native and Indigenous cinema,” will run Nov. 1-30.

“It’s going to be amazing! It'll be our 28th year with our student film festivals happening in April and we have a partnership now with AMC Networks, and that's going really great for our Native women and our youth, and our student academy.”

About NWIFTV in All Media

Founded in 1995 and started as a Native Women in Music Festival in Santa Fe NM. #NWIFTV went on to have its own program of screenings at the annual Red Nation International Film Festival (RNIFF), films directed by women screenedannually in November. In 2003, Native Women in Film & Television in All media became a stand alone Film Festival leading up to The Academy Awards, out of a direct need to keep our image at the forefront of the entertainment industry. NWIFTV is the only film festival dedicated to Native & Indigenous women filmmakers, hence Native Women in Film & Television in All Media Festival was born.

At the height of #MeToo actor/director/founder/humanitarian Joanelle Romero (AMPAS) founder of NWIFTV coined and founded #WhyWeWearRED with a media coalition to address a Global Call to Action initiative that aims to bring awareness to Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls and the lack of inclusion of Native Women in Film & Television. Every year in February, leading up to the Academy Awards the annual Native Women in FILM Festival takes place along with the Conversation Series. NWIFTV in All Media advocates for Native and Indigenous Women’s Rights in all media platforms, with a focus on equal opportunities for Native & Indigenous women in front of and behind the camera, encouraging the creative narrative, exploring and empowering authentic and honest portrayals of Native and Indigenous women, expanding empowerment initiatives and campaigns in the arts, media, social justice, civic engagement, economic empowerment, research, training, professional development programs, grants and international relation.

NWIFTV serves under its fiscal partner Red Nation Celebration Institute The Creative Enterprise by Natives delivering to all people the stories that shape our world. RNCI the pioneer longest standing Native Women-Led Indigenous Media, Arts & Cultural nonprofit in the City of Los Angeles, Empowering Native and Indigenous Storytellers.

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About Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI)

Founded in 1995, RNCI is the longest standing Native woman-led, Indigenous media arts and cultural nonprofit enterprise in the City of Los Angeles, celebrating its 25th year (August 2020/2021) of service to Indian Country and the entertainment industry. RNCI mission replaces racist, erasive American Indian stereotypes with recognition, new vision, arts, culture and economic prosperity by placing American Indian & Indigenous Filmmakers at the forefront of the entertainment industry while amplifying cinematic excellence with an emphasis on initiatives for Native women, girls, and youth. #WhoTellsTheStoryMatters

#NativesInChargeOfTheirNarrative Creating systemic change through the arts and media. Storytelling is what we do. We have increased the visibility of American Indian & Indigenous filmmakers and communities through our ground-breaking programs, initiatives, events in creating content with the revitalized vision of our own narrative as contemporary people. We work in a variety of media platforms and educational institutions, in conjunction with partners from around the world.

RNCI’s leadership actively implements a vision for the future of cinema: one in which American Indian perspectives are authentically pictured, recognized, and valued in a way that promotes strong Native identities, economic outcomes, equity, and wellness for our communities. We deliver increased representation of Native peoples in popular culture, both in front and behind the camera with our Film Festivals, RNCI Crew, a Native Studies Center at USC and Red Nation Television Network the first online streaming company. #WhyWeWearRED

RNCI Board of Directors

For more information on the Red Nation Celebration Institute, including upcoming programming visit

Red Nation Celebration Institute’s year round programs.

Red Nation Television Network

Red Nation Television Network (Red Nation TV) is the first of its kind. Red Nation Television Network is the pioneer steaming television channel of American Indian & Indigenous content. Established in 2006, as being the first and best American Indian & Indigenous Network, predating Netflix and three months before the major networks announced their launch of programming on the internet. In regards to online streaming; Before there was Netflix or Hulu, there was Red Nation Television Network (2006), Netflix and Hulu launched in 2007. Unlike Netflix and Hulu with their subscription based streaming channel, RedNationTV’s launch was based on building its audience and fan base from 2006 to 2015, as a free streaming channel. Red Nation TV began its subscription-based service July 2015 with its Red Nation TV “On-Demand-Specials.” Red Nation Television Network-Native is Here is 24/7 high definition (HD) multi platform digital media vehicle, being the largest native content provider.

In 2010, Red NationTV reached 10 million viewers; and is in 37 countries. Red NationTV is growing daily worldwide.

Red Nation TV, Inc. is an American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media available to viewers in all of North America and the world. Currently, viewers in North America and South America, except Cuba, and parts of Europe (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and Germany). The company was established in 2006, cementing the name as the first American Indian Television Network, headquartered in Los Angeles, California.


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