Published March 9, 2022

Durango Independent Film Festival spotlights Indigenous stories

KSUT Tribal Radio
By Crystal Ashike

Hazel James Tohe (left), Michael Ramsey, Mario Atencio, Daniel Tso, and May Salganek (right), gathered in front of the Gaslight Theater in Durango, Colo., for the 17th annual Durango Independent Film Festival, where their films played in the “Cultural Preservation Native Cinema Program,” on Sunday, March 6, 2022.(KSUT/Crystal Ashike)

Native American and Indigenous filmmakers humanize cultural values at the Durango Independent Film Festival.

The in-person festival took place in Durango, Colo., last Wednesday and ended on Sunday, March 6, where two programs focused on Indigenous storytellers.

The first, Effecting Change Native Cinema Program, spotlighted seven films. And the Cultural Preservation Native Cinema Program, showed six films, where filmmakers took advantage of framing Indigenous cultural teachings, values, and complex issues into narrative and documentary shorts or features.

Maya Salganek, a filmmaker who traveled to Durango from Santa Fe, N.M., enjoyed the positive experience.

"To see other films you know from around the world, and meet the filmmakers is always so valuable, especially during this pandemic," said Salganek in an interview with Tribal Radio on Sunday, March 6.

Salganek is part of the Reciprocity Project that produced four films playing in the festival.

Daniel Tso, a Navajo Nation Council delegate and filmmaker, spoke to an audience about the reason he and Michael Ramsey created the film, “Our Story - The Indigenous Led Fight to Protect Greater Chaco,” after it filmed at the Gaslight Theatre in Durango, Colo., on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (KSUT/Crystal Ashike)

In addition, Daniel Tso, a Navajo Nation Council delegate, and "Our Story - The Indigenous Led to Protect Greater Chaco," filmmaker, captured the problems he and his community faced in northeast New Mexico area and played under the Cultural Preservation Native Cinema Program.

He created the film "for the future youth" and was grateful to the Durango Independent Film Festival for allowing his community member's voices to be seen.