IllumiNative is launching its inaugural “Indigenous House” at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival

“We are beyond thrilled to open the doors to the Indigenous House for the very first time at Sundance Film Festival,” says Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of IllumiNative

Press announcement courtesy of IllumiNative

IllumiNative, the Native woman-led social justice organization dedicated to building power for Native peoples, announced today the launch of the Indigenous House at Sundance Film Festival 2023.

The Indigenous House will open its doors on Main Street in Park City, Utah, to celebrate and honor the creativity, strength, and beauty of Native peoples, unveil new research on Native voices in media, and provide a gathering space for community members and allies to examine, address, and explore issues that impact Native peoples. 

The Indigenous House will make its debut at Sundance Film Festival, the ultimate gathering place for filmmakers, storytellers, and audiences seeking new voices and fresh perspectives, and the perfect space to recognize and celebrate Native creatives, artists, and industry leaders who are advancing Native representation and Native inclusivity in TV/film. 

“We are beyond thrilled to open the doors to the Indigenous House for the very first time at Sundance Film Festival,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and executive director of IllumiNative.

Crystal Echo Hawk, Pawnee, founder and executive director of IllumiNative.

“Storytelling is a powerful force for change, and we’ve seen firsthand how impactful Native representation is. The entertainment industry has always been one of the biggest perpetrators of our erasure, but Native peoples have flipped the script and are breaking barriers and making incredible strides in representation. The Indigenous House is a celebration of the contributions made by Native creatives, artists, filmmakers, and the creativity, beauty, and strength of Native peoples.”

“Our hope is to create a space where Native and non-Native peoples can come together in community, learn and get inspired, acknowledge the barriers Native peoples have overcome and still face in the film industry, as well as celebrate the Native films selected for this year and the opportunities in the future to bring more Native stories, talent and voices to audiences. We look forward to bringing together Native trailblazers, leaders and allies to push the boundaries of our representation even further.”

From January 21-22, the Indigenous House will host a mix of events, dinners, and panel discussions, integrated with music, fashion, and food, to immerse attendees in Native culture and celebrate its impact on society and pop culture.

The themes include: Indigenous women and women of color in entertainment; new research demonstrating the impact Native films and TV are having on audiences and the industry; the growing role of tribes, Native talent, and companies on the film industry; opportunities for partnership, investment and impact with Indigenous creatives and Indian Country; the importance and impact of visibility and representation; and the groundbreaking contributions of Native artists, creatives, activists, and leaders in the entertainment industry. 

The Indigenous House is brought to life with support from Open Society Foundations, the Pechanga Band of Indians, the Pop Culture Collaborative, Decolonizing Wealth Project, The Christensen Fund, the Culture Change Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, and Nielsen.

IllumiNative was founded by Crystal Echo Hawk in 2018 to activate the findings of the Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) project, the largest public opinion research and strategy-setting project ever conducted by, for, and about Native peoples. Reclaiming Native Truth found that the inclusion of Native characters in primetime television and popular films ranged from 0-0.4%.

Subsequent studies have found very growth in Native representation. These reports also found that creative roles, like writers or directors, showed virtually no Native representation. Since 2018, IllumiNative has utilized audience and industry research, consulting, and advocacy to disrupt the invisibility of Native peoples, re-educate and engage industry leaders and the general public, and build power for Native peoples.  

For more information or to inquire about attending the Indigenous House, please contact IllumiNative@ssmandl.com.

For more information about Sundance Film Festival 2023, please visit https://festival.sundance.org/.  

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