Colorado Springs Film Festival a Window on Lives of Native Peoples

By Forster, Liz | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), February 11, 2018 | Go to article overview

Colorado Springs Film Festival a Window on Lives of Native Peoples


Forster, Liz, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)


Jessica Wohlrob sensed a wave of energy pulsing through the audience at the One Nation Film Festival Sunday as the narrator of one of the short films began speaking in Cherokee.

"I could feel everyone focused on the sounds of the native language," said Wohlrob, the festival's coordinator and intern with AmeriCorps Vista. "It was really powerful."

The nine-minute film illustrating an old Cherokee Nation story about a small starving snake was one of 15 films showcasing Native American, First Nation and indigenous peoples' stories at the Stargazer Theatre.

"Film is a great way to tell raw, personal stories and give an insight into personal struggles of any individual or group," said Kelsey Comfort, one of the festival's committee members. "These films are examples of that and responding to the calls for underrepresented groups to stand up in the film industry."

Most capitalize on current events. "Water Warriors" - a 22-minute documentary - exhibits the community resistance by Mi'kmaq Elsipogtog First Nation, French-speaking Acadians and white famiilies in New Brunswick, Canada, against an energy company performing seismic testing to find natural gas in the area.

Others, like "Pouri," explore cultural traditions and familial relations.

"By showing these films, we help build inclusivity," One Nation Walking Together's Executive Director Kathy Turzi said. "We're giving people a chance to learn about the rich culture while also provide Natives with an avenue to showcase their work."

One Nation Walking Together, which puts on the festival, is a Colorado Springs nonprofit that collects and delivers nearly $2 million worth of donated goods to 30,000 to 40,000 Native Americans on 11 reservations and other communities in Colorado, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, and North and South Dakota. …

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