Report From 2nd Annual Social Change Film Fest (Recognizing Talented Indigenous Filmmakers)
Photo Credit: S & A

Report From 2nd Annual Social Change Film Fest (Recognizing Talented Indigenous Filmmakers)


So many film festivals to cover, so little time and so few people to cover them…

We missed this one – a festival I actually wasn't familiar with until I received the below press release via email, 2 weeks ago (I'm catching up!). 

But I thought I'd at least give the festival a shout, since it's very much inline with what S&A is all about; plus, looking over their line-up very quickly, I can say that a few titles that I'm not already familiar with, caught my eye, which I'll revisit when I'm less buried. 

It's only in its second year, by the way… not to be confused with the first annual Chicago International Social Change Film Festival that Sergio announced in October.

Social Change Film Festival Recognizes Outstanding Indigenous Filmmakers

First Peoples Worldwide panel highlights the power of film for Indigenous communities

At the 2nd annual Social Change Film Festival and Institute in New Orleans, LA, First Peoples Worldwide (FPW) organized a panel on “Traditional Storytelling Using Modern Technology.” The five-day festival brought together a global network of filmmakers addressing the need for social change through their work.  More than 40 Indigenous filmmakers submitted films about cultural identity, the environment, youth suicide, drug abuse, and other issues. Two films were selected by FPW to be screened at the festival, “Cry Rock” and “March Point.”

“Cry Rock” documents the struggle of the Nuxalk in British Columbia to maintain their language, culture, and identity in response to colonialism and the infringement of non-Indigenous culture.  It was the directorial debut of Banchi Hanuse (Nuxalk), a graduate of the University of British Columbia, and has won eight awards since its premier at National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival in Washington, DC.

“March Point” tells the story of three Swinomish boys awakening to the negative impacts of oil refineries on their communities in Washington State.  Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw), the director, is co-founder of Longhouse Media, an organization that promotes artistic and community growth of young Indigenous filmmakers.

“We watched well over 50 films made by Indigenous Filmmakers,” says Neva Morrison, Managing Director of First Peoples Worldwide and the moderator of the panel. “The stories they shared are amazing. I was moved to tears by some and others made me laugh, but all inspired me and because these stories were told, directed, and edited by Indigenous People in their own words it made them more powerful and accurate.  The two selected for screening at the Social Change Film Festival deserve every bit of recognition they are receiving today.”


The Social Change Film Festival encourages filmmakers to address global social and environmental challenges in their work.  The theme for this year’s festival was Water: Challenges and Solutions.

In addition to film screenings and panels, the festival included workshops and lectures from film industry professionals on all aspects of filmmaking, distribution, fundraising, and social change media. The festival also included a special panel and screening of selected youth films on water issues.

Film will continue to be a powerful way for Indigenous communities to share their stories, giving them the opportunity to share their struggles, successes and—most importantly—their solutions for a better world. To learn more about the Social Change Film Festival & Institute, visit

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2023 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.