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Natives in Charge of Their Narrative

Student Mentorship Program

Native Indigenous Student Academy of Cinematic Arts

The Native Indigenous Student Academy of Cinematic Arts is an international student academy of excellence in film competition, first established in 1995 with the name Native Youth Matter – If I Can See It I Can Be It. Since 1995, Native and Indigenous students have always been included in the submission process for RNCI program ‘Red Nation International Film Festival’ however in 2021, RNCI Board of Directors recognized that the students needed their own stand alone film festival and awards ceremony.

In 2022, RNCI reimagined the contributions that Native and Indigenous Students have brought to the table through their lens hence Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts was born.

Student Mentorship Program

In partnership with AMC Networks, RNCI’s program ‘Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts’ offers emerging Native Indigenous students an opportunity to be seen and heard with industry professionals.
AMC Networks is honored to provide hands-on access, education and new mentoring opportunities to members of the Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI), an organization that is at the forefront of bringing Native American and Indigenous creators into television and film.

The top 3 students selected from this year’s Student Film Festival will meet with AMCN & RNCI executives, a trip to AMC Studios and present at the 28th RNCI Red Nation Awards on November 12. 2023.

The Student Award Winners


Game Night

Director Cadence Grace Barreda | Live Action

A girl who lost her zest for life is launched into a series of games against a menacing figure.

The Sound of Drums

Director Megan James | Live Action

The film is about a Cree Indian kid, named Rye. Rye is trying to find what he loves. Rye used to dance Pow Wow when he was a kid and it made him really happy. As he grew up, he slowly drifted from this passion. After seeing a man taking photos of the mountains while on his bike ride, this inspires him to love something again. So he goes out and tries to find what his passion is.


Lost Travelers

Director Isaac Boss | Animation

Living deep in the forest, three mushrooms, Owen, Agaric, and Virgo went out scavenging for supplies. While out in the woods, they encounter a glowing light in the distance and decide to investigate. They chase the light and make an amazing discovery.


Director Megan James | Live Action

A young man is trapped in this ongoing cycle where he realizes the brokenness of the world. Will he continue down this rabbit hole, or will he realign himself and gain new perspective?


Remembering the Children: The Red Deer Indian Industrial School

Director Penny Gullion | Documentary

For over 100 years, many of the Indigenous children of Canada were forcefully taken from their families and sent hundred or thousands of kilometers away to Residential Schools whose purpose was to take away their language and culture and replace it with that of the European colonizers, often using abuse and neglect to achieve this goal.

The Red Deer Indian Industrial School which operated from 1889 to 1919 and was per population one of the most deadly Indigenous Residential Schools in Canada’s history. This film focuses on honoring the memory of the students who survived as well as those that died at the school whose bodies where never returned to their families. It also focuses on how this has affected generations of First Nations, Inuit and Metis through intergenerational trauma, but also how to move towards a brighter future of cultural revitalization and reconciliation through the eyes of the Indigenous filmmakers on their journey of discovery.

#NotTodayColonizer #WhoTellsTheStoryMatters

The Native Indigenous Student Academy for Cinematic Arts Awards is an international student film competition, established in 1995.

Each year, students from North American Indian, First Nation Peoples of Canada, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and International Indigenous Peoples from Mexico, South America, New Zealand, age range 10-25 years (College, University), enrolled (full-time or part-time) in a degree-granting program at an eligible school when the film was made or from a Native Reservation or Native based school compete for awards with films being judged in the following categories: Animation, Documentary, Live Action Narrative and Alternative/Experimental.

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