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The 23rd RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards. The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema took place November 5-16, 2018 celebrating top native films of 2018 as we close the month officially designated as American Indian Heritage Month in The City Of Los Angeles.

(A Martinez and Dolores Huerta Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

RNCI Red Nation Awards Gala “The Entertainment Industry & Indian Country’s Biggest Night for American Indian & Indigenous Voices” Cementing Native image at the forefront of the industry, highlighting the very best American Indian & Indigenous contributions in film, television, comedy, music and the arts.

On the Red is Green Carpet included Dolores Huerta (Civil rights activist/United Farm Workers), Susanna White (dir Women Walks Ahead), Ajuawak Kapashesit (actor Indian Horse), Wayne Baker (actor Indian Horse), Trish Dolman (producer Indian Horse), Brigitte Timmerman (dir UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING), Winona Caramony (elder UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING), Glenna Slater (elder UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING), Octa Keen (elder UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING), Eric “Dirt” McComber (Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans), Joanne Storkan (dir (Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans), Brant Davis (producer (Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans), Elizabeth Bell (accepted for writer/dir *Taylor Sheridan Wind River/Yellow Stone), Prof. Dr. Gaspar Rivera Salgado/UCLA (accepted for In Times of Rain), Carlos Rafael Betancourt (dir Running Shadow), Joyce Liu-Countryman (producer Running Shadow), Sarah Eagle Heart (cultural consultant & animated short #CrowTheLegend), Sivan Alyra Rose (actress Running Shadow), Shayna Jackson (actress Running Shadow), A Martinez (actor Queen of the South, Longmire), Saginaw Grant (actor The Lone Ranger), Crystle Lightning (actress Outlander), Loren Aragon (Fashion Designer) Paul Audley (president Film LA), Christopher Racster (ex dir Outfest), Audrey Hicks (ex dir USC Bedrosian Center on Governance), Wenona Benally (Attorney, Arizona State Representative), Joe Tohonnie Jr. Apache Crown Dancers, to name a few ….

(Susanna White/Woman Walks Ahead, Joanelle Romero, Dolores Huerta  Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

46 Films screened, 22 Directed by Women and 10 Student films, from A-list directors, producers, Native filmmakers, top Native fashion designers, to some of the most prominent activists in America Today. 

November 30, 2018

Los Angeles – The 23rd RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards, presented by Film LA and Honest Engine Films, ran Nov. 5th through 16th and for the first time broadcast its RNCI Red Nation Award *Nominees* Live. Hosted by Ed Begley Jr., A Martinez and Joanelle Romero. RNCI Red Nation Awards Gala took place Nov. 16 at the Laemmle Fine Arts in Beverly Hills.

“We’re so proud to be a supporter of the Festival and all its activities that happen with it and our board has committed its resources to support emerging and underrepresented filmmakers and communities which is a particularly special group for us with the original peoples,” Board member of Red Nation Celebration Institute and President of Film LA the regional film office of L.A. County Paul Audley said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to tell the world about the history and contemporary life of Indigenous people and to tell stories that cross cultural boundaries helping to open doors to the creation of personal communications and a broader understanding of the world we live.”

“This years Festival theme is The Power of Inclusion, you might wonder why someone from a policy school is interested in supporting a film festival, the real power of democracy is in the people. Its works better when we know all the views, it works better when those views are discussed openly and transparently and that those elected officials are held accountable,” stated Aubrey Hicks USC School of Public Policy. “So the American dream is simple but our history has shown that we have not always lived up to our
ideals. The bright side is that we can clearly do better, we can learn about our history, learn about all the different peoples that make up this country though film.”

(Joe Tohonnie Jr. Apache Crown Dancers Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

“RNIFF is rooted in Indian Country and is the leading force of American Indian & Indigenous cinema in the entertainment industry since 1995. In support of our theme Power of Inclusion in Diversity in front of and behind the camera, storytelling is key when it comes from the original peoples of this land,” quotes Joanelle Romero CEO, founder, President of RNIFF and member of AMPAS. “Being the first Native Film Festival in Hollywood and having the first Native Film Festival screening at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (Linwood Dunn Theater), we were fortunate to secure and screen the top independent American Indian & Indigenous films this year and honor them at RNCI Red Nation Awards Ceremony. In addition highlighting Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women with RNCI’s #WhyWeWearRED Call to Action with support from Taylor Sheridan (Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Wind River, Hell or High Water).”

2018 RNCI Red Nation Awards Winners
Best Director Susanna White – Woman Walks Ahead
Best Picture Woman Walks Ahead
Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Andrea
Calderwood, Erika Olde, Richard Solomon – Producers
Outstanding Actress in the Leading Role Rulan Tangen – Woman Walks Ahead
Outstanding Actor in the Leading Role Ajuawak Kapashesit – Indian Horse
Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role Eva Greyeyes – Indian Horse
Outstanding Actor in Supporting Role Wayne Gausedis Baker – Indian Horse
Best Documentary Film Umo Nholve: The Omaha Speaking
Best Indigenous Documentary or Feature In Times of Rain
Best Sports Feature Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans
Best Short Ohero:Kon – Under the Husk
Best Animated Film Raven and the Dogfish Woman
Best Live Action Running Shadow
Best Two-Spirit (LGBTQ) story Mino Bimaadiziwin
Best Student Film Silent No More
Best Television Series Westworld – HBO
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries, Special, Comedy,
or Series Elizabeth Frances
Outstanding Supporting Actor in TV Movie, Miniseries, Special, Comedy, or
Series Zahn McClarnon – Westworld

Full list of Nominees and Winners:

RNCI Tribute Awards
Edward R Roybal Award Dolores Huerta
The Brando Award Taylor Sherdian
Edward Albert Jr Award Ed Begley Jr
American Indian Heritage Award Congresswoman Debra Haaland

About RNCI Tribute Awards:

(Wayne Baker/ Indian Horse,  Glenna Slater/ UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING. Ajuawak Kapashesit/Indian Horse,  Brigitte Timmerman/ UmoNhoN Iye THE OMAHA SPEAKING)

RNCI Red Nation Awards Show will broadcast on Red Nation Television Network and cable outlets in December 2018, reaching 10 million viewers in 37 countries.

The RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival has enjoyed support from major studios, networks and unions during its 23 year legacy, including The Walt Disney Company, Comcast NBC/Universal, CBS Corporate, Disney ABC Television Group, Fox Entertainment Group, HBO, Turner Foundation, Turner Broadcast, Paramount Pictures, TNT Network, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America, ABC Channel 7, CBS KCAL 9, NBC Channel 4.

The Red Nation Celebration Institute recognizes and thanks the critical support and funding from The City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City and County of Los Angeles: District 10: Herb Wesson (President), District Two: Mark Ridley-Thomas, District 3: Bob Blumenfield, District 5: Paul Koretz, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and The City of Santa Fe Mayor Allan Webber.

RNCI Industry Alliance Partners include Outfest, Los Angeles Film Festival, National Indigenous Womens Resource Center, Sony Pictures Classics, Tewa Women United, Rematriation Magazine, Indigenous Concepts Counseling,  Joanne Shenandoah.

The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for American Indian & Indigenous independent artists.
2018 Sponsors:

(Daniel French/Ohero:Kon -Under the Husk,Steven Paul Judd/artist Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

The Festival screened for 12 days thoughout Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Over 200+ films were submitted. Some having had their first world premieres and others California premieres, Los Angeles premieres and Festival premieres.

The 12 day Festival programs highlighted female filmmakers, LGBTQ, live performances, podcasts, stage readings, masterclasses, conversation series, veterans, youth, language series supporting Native elders.

The full schedule Los Angeles RNCI 23rd Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards is available at the Festival’s website. Visit:

* RNCI Red Nation Award Nominees Announced Live @ LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes October 8, 2018: WATCH:

Other festival events designed in developing Native talent in the industry included Oct 8, 15, 22, 29 *The Writers Room* Podcast (s) highlighting American Indian & Indigenous Voices hosted by: USC Price Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC Price Bedrosian Center; and Oct 8 *RNCI Red Nation Awards Nominees* announced with a live broadcast hosted by LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes; and Nov. 5 *Indigenous Playwrights Transforming into TV & Film* staged reading of *The Bone Picker* highlighning Native actors hosted by USC School of Dramatic Arts; and Nov. 6 Red Nation Conversation Series *Malenche & Native Women, LGBTQ in Media* hosted Outfest, USC Price Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC Price Bedrosian Center; and Nov. 7 *Masterclass*  American Indians & Allies hosted by USC Price Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC Price Bedrosian Center, USC School of Cinematic Arts; and Nov 10 & 11 *Native FILM Market* pitch and distribution platform hosted by Red Nation Television Network; and Nov 14 *RNIFF American Indian & Indigenous Film Program Industry Mixer*  in collaboration Honest Engine Films; and Nov 12, 13, 14 film program 22 films Directed by Women hosted by Native Women in FILM.

(RNCI Native Youth Film Program/Viegas and Sycuan Tribes Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

About the RNCI & Power of Inclusion in Diversity™
The Red Nation Celebration Institute has been pressing studios, networks, and producers to be more inclusive in hiring for over two decades. The Institute’s efforts include: requiring television studios and studios to support Native talent in front of and behind the camera, ongoing meetings with studios, networks and individual series regarding their hiring records; In addition, the Institute itself has year round educational programs to support the career development of its members and though-out American Indian & Indigenous communities.

Click here for more information about the RNCI’s Power of Inclusion in Diversity efforts.

(Fawn Lily Brown, Steven Paul Judd/artist, A Martinez/actor, Joanelle Romero/actress,  Crystle Lightning/actress, Adrian Michael Brown Viegas Tribe/RNCI Sponsor  Photo credit: Headshots by Peggy)

The RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival®
The RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema™ has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films for the past two+ decades, including Woman Walks Ahead, Indian Horse, Wind River, The Rider, In Times of Rain, Frozen River, The Garden, Honor the Treaties, Twilight Saga: New Moon. The Festival is a program of the longest standing Native Arts & Cultural nonprofit in The City of Los Angeles Red Nation Celebration Institute®.

Red Nation Celebration Institute®
Founded in 1995 by Joanelle Romero, Red Nation Celebration Institute is a Native Arts & Cultural nonprofit organization that advances artists in film, theatre, and new media. The Institute’s signature programs Native Women in FILM™, Masterclasses and Native Youth Matter If I Can See It I Can Be It™, to ground-breaking initiatives and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to American Indian & Indigenous artists in igniting new ideas, discovering emerging voices, and building a cross-cultural community dedicated to American Indian & Indigenous independent storytelling.

The Authentic Voice of American Indian and Indigenous storytellers, our mission is in promoting, advancing, advocating and empowering independent filmmakers, media artists and content creators, with an emphasis on initiatives for Native women and youth, in all media platforms, in conjunction with partners from around the world.

Join Red Nation Celebration Institute and RNCI Red Nation International Film Festival on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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RNCI Board of Directors


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