The Lumbee Film Festival concluded it’s 2nd annual celebration on Friday, May 17th in by announcing winners in three categories: Best Short, Best Feature and Emerging Filmmaker. The festival screened 16 films created by American Indian directors at UNCP’s Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub May 16th & 17th in Pembroke, North Carolina. Attendance doubled from year one with attendees driving from all over North Carolina and flying in from as far away as Nevada to attend the two day showcase of films by Indigenous filmmakers.
Lumbee Tribe member and Festival Director, Kim Pevia, reflects on the success: “I’m so proud of year two where we went from a one-night event, to two nights filled with shorts and features telling the stories of Native Americans by American Indians. You could feel the care with which each story was told. It is so important that we tell our stories and that we gather to hear them and witness them. It brought me great joy to facilitate the exchange between more experienced filmmakers and young Lumbee artists, as this festival encourages our youth to tell their stories. I look forward to growing the Lumbee Film Festival and the partnerships more and more each year.”
Best Short was awarded to Ben-Alex Dupris (a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes) for his short documentary “Sweetheart Dancers.” The film follows Sean and Adrian, a Two-Spirit couple determined to push traditional boundaries through their participation in the “Sweetheart Dance.” Ben-Alex Dupris reflects on the experience: “The Lumbee Film Festival was a wonderful experience, nestled in a strong cultural community of curious film aficionados! The team from Lumbee and Cucalorus saw to it that I was eating delicious southern traditional foods, sleeping in a historical bed & breakfast, and watching amazing films. This emerging festival should not be missed, and I cannot wait for next year. It’s easy to feel welcome in Lumbee territory, where they have a diverse and eclectic sense of style that filmmakers will love!”
Reagan Cummings was presented with the Emerging Filmmaker award for her piece “Maintaining Cultural Identity as Lumbee Women.” Reagan (a Lumbee Tribe member) directed the film as part of the Unlocking Silent Histories program. Rachel Taylor, programming director for Cucalorus, adds that “Lumbee Film Festival is first and foremost a celebration of Lumbee Indian voices and stories. We were honored to present this award to Reagan Cummings. She is truly an emerging talent and we can not wait to see what she does next.”
The prize for Best Feature went to “Kayak to Klemtu,” a narrative from Zoe Hopkins (a Canadian Heiltsuk/Mohawk writer and director) following the eco-activism adventures of a young girl and her family.
The Lumbee Film Festival is made possible by the NC Arts Council and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and is a program of the Cucalorus Film Foundation. Additional supporters include UNCW Film Studies with special thanks to professor Georg Kozlunski, as well as Lumbee tribe member Chad Locklear for his graphic brilliance.
The 55,000 members of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina reside primarily in Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland and Scotland counties. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest tribe in North Carolina, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River and the ninth largest in the nation. The Lumbee take their name from the Lumbee River which winds its way through Robeson County. Pembroke, North Carolina is the economic, cultural and political center of the tribe.