PEMBROKE — Cucalorus presents The Lumbee Film Festival in its fifth year in Pembroke during the 2023 Lumbee Homecoming.
The festival, taking place July 6-8, is a partnership with the Lumbee Tribe of NC, sponsored by the North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and PBS North Carolina.
The festival coincides with the production wrap of Cypress and Malinda Mayor Lowery’s 30-minute narrative film, “Lumbeeland,” filmed in Pembroke, N.C. The family-drama, in collaboration with Honeyhead Films, was encouraged by Lowery’s relationship with Robeson County as a Lumbee tribe member.
The festival recognizes original films from Native Americans, indigenous filmmakers, and members of the Lumbee tribe in its three-day totality.
Chad Lockear, Lumbee Film Festival Communications Director, described new indigenous cinema as “on the rise” and emphasized his excitement on creating a space to celebrate the rich diversity of native films in a press release.
“Lumbee Homecoming is always an exciting time to get together and reunite with friends and family,” Lockear said. “We hope all attendees will take a break from the heat and join us in this celebration. It’ll be a fun and educational experience for all ages.”
The festival’s kick off features an original shorts block at the campus of University of North Carolina Pembroke on Thursday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.
The short block features a range of films including documentaries, poetry, animation and the narrative drama “Can Archaeology Repair its Past with Indigenous America?”, directed by award-winning filmmaker and Lumbee tribe member, Victoria Sutton. Discussion with attending filmmakers will take place after the screening.
Documentary short “Mary Two Axe-Earley: I am Indian Again” screens Friday, July 7, 7:30 p.m. In the film, Kahnawake-based filmmaker Courtney Mountour, highlights a legendary woman who led the fight to restore Indian status to thousands of First Nations women and children.
In the evening’s full-length feature, “Faces From the Interior: The Director’s Cut,” Justin Deegan explores the impact of artist Karl Bodmer on the direct descendants of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations.
In a director’s statement, Deegan said that he is “all about that indigenous lens for an indigenous narrative.”
The festival closes on Saturday, July 8, 7:30 p.m. with a screening of the highly-anticipated alligator wrestling documentary, “Tough Skin,” directed by Lumbee Film Festival alum, Montana Cypress.
Cypress gives insight into the perilous world of alligator wrestling through the eyes of Florida’s Indian tribes.
“From a culture-based practice to the commercially viable world of gator wrestling championships, we discover the innovative paths the tribes have embraced to sustain their sovereignty in an ever-evolving world,” Cypress said.
She will also be in attendance for a question-and-answer following the screening.
Lumbee Film Festival screenings are free and open to the public at James A. Thomas Hall on the campus of the UNCP. The full festival schedule is available here.
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