Indigenous Film Festival Overview

Join us for the Third Annual Nłʔay “En-th-a-eye” Indigenous Film Festival 2019

Friday, April 12th

Saturday, April 13th

Missoula Community Theater

200 North Adams Street, Missoula, Montana (click here for map)

The Missoula Urban Indian Health Center is proud to announce that the Third Annual Nłʔay “En-th-a-eye” Film Festival will take place at the Missoula Community Theater Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th, 2019!

We are excited to partner with the Missoula Community Theater for the third consecutive year to bring you films inspired by indigenous resilience. The theme of this year’s festival is celebrating indigenous female film making

This year’s chosen films were directed, produced, written, and starred in by an array of talented indigenous filmmakers, including: Tantoo Cardinal, Darlene Naponse, Zoe Leigh Hopkins, Sterlin Harjo, Christina D. King, and many, many more.

Admission is $5 on Friday and $10 on Saturday, or a canned goods donation to the Missoula Food Bank at the door. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the event!






Want to help us put on next year’s festival? Click on the donate button below! All donations go towards sustaining the IFF as a local, community-driven event.






About the Festival:

This film festival highlights positive messages about identity and connection to culture and seeks to honor the resilience, perseverance, and transcendence that defines what it means to be an American Indian person in 2019 from a foundation of historical and compounding intergenerational trauma. Our festival includes the Salish word for Missoula, Nłʔay (En-th-a-eye), or “Place of the Little Bull Trout,” to acknowledge the vast diversity of indigenous experience in this specific valley and to honor the people who’s land on which we now live. We will offer a multitude of stories that speak to interconnection, a sense of cultural validation, and hope.

We hope to provide a healing opportunity for our local community to discuss and reflect on contemporary themes that impact indigenous communities through our open panels following each film. This event holds potential to bring together and build a bridge between our American Indian community and our greater Missoula community. It is our hope that this year’s films and panelists will ultimately serve as a catalyst to promote the social, emotional, and intergenerational healing process in our local indigenous community.

Please refer to the pages for each festival day for more information on scheduling and individual films. 

How films are selected:

We at MUIHC carefully identified appropriate films and screened potential features for the following criteria: cultural relevance and sensitivity, directed and acted primarily by indigenous people, portrayed an authentic view of what it means to be an American Indian person, not mainstream, and recently debuted. Each film highlights indigenous resiliency and is told from an indigenous perspective. Our locally-made Trapper Creek films are the products of therapeutic intervention and share the intimate stories that honor the process of change within the lives of our community members.

Each film has been selected for its ability to illustrate characters who exhibit personal growth, resilience, and connection to a cultural identity within a cultural and ethnic context. The focus of each film comes from a foundation of connection to the emotion and human interconnection that defines all our lives, regardless of ethnic or racial background. Each film acknowledges the often profound and compounding presence of trauma in the indigenous experience, and highlights a narrative of tenacity, self-empowerment, and resilience.

Join us at 6:30 PM on Saturday, April 13th for the Montana premiere of Falls Around Her, with a special post-film discussion with the star of the film, Tantoo Cardinal!

Tantoo Cardinal has performed in more than 100 film, television, and theatre roles in Canada and the United States. She broke barriers for onscreen representation of Indigenous peoples and has challenged negative stereotypes of Indigenous communities throughout her career, which has included roles in such films as Dances With Wolves (1990), Black Robe (1991), Smoke Signals (1998), Wind River (2017) and Through Black Spruce (2019), and such TV series as Street Legal(1987–94), Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993–95), North of 60 (1993–97), Moccasin Flats (2003-06) and Mohawk Girls (2010–17). She is known for her strong presence, the depth of her performances and her activism on behalf of the environment.

Tantoo stars in the Montana premiere of Falls Around Her which will be showcased on Saturday, April 13th at 6:30 PM. Falls Around Her is the first starring role in her illustrious career. Tantoo will do a one-on-one post-film discussion with festival co-organizer, Ivan MacDonald, and will be available for a Q&A after the discussion. Please join us for this special opportunity to speak with and learn from one of the most prominent Indigenous actresses of our time.

Indigenous Food:

We invite you to taste and experience the traditional foods demonstration exhibit sponsored by the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) grant. This important funding provides MUIHC the ability to support programming promoting indigenous food sovereignty and sustainable food systems within Missoula’s American Indian and Alaska Native  communities. Join us as we share cultural protective factors through indigenous foods helping us to change the course of diabetes in our tribal communities. Meet with QJ Means, MUIHC Community Health Coordinator, who specializes in agriculture and sustainable food systems, as he presents contemporary recipe samples using local and indigenous ingredients.





Meet the artist behind this year’s IFF poster!

Andrea Castillo left her ancestral home, the Navajo Nation, to pursue her passion in fine arts at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana in 1998. She was inspired when she learned to transpose her thoughts and feelings into a visionary art form but, life’s challenges diverted her from following her passion. Later, while getting her BA in Native American Studies with a minor in Women’s Gender Studies at University of Montana Missoula, her creative passion of “Picto-Storytelling” re-emerged.

A statement from the artist: “I seek to bring my Navajo heritage to life in the broader world as I experience it. Through my art, I carry my ancestral myth into the faces and natural world phenomena presented. I utilize my Grandmother’s words in my use of charcoal from the embers of our ceremonial fires to protect me from negative emotions, and to protect the painting and storyline. My watercolor and acrylics are always infused with these embers. My work often takes on a dreamlike quality, as the deepest part of me emerges into my life and work.”




For More Information click the links below.

Friday April 12th

Saturday April 13th

Panelist Biographies

Being in connection Youth Art Series and MAM Tours

IFF News




Mission And Vision Statements



All Tribes In Our Area



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