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American Indian Film Festival 

Wednesday, Nov 4 2015
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Screening the best in Native Cinema from the Bay Area and parts beyond, the American Indian Film Festival turns 40 this year. Appropriately enough for a festival with an eye to the past, it kicks off withWe're Still Here: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited. Antonio D'Ambrosio's documentary tells the story of Johnny Cash's 1964Bitter Tears, a protest album about the marginalization of American Indians, a marginalization that continues to this day against them and so many non-whites. Sharing that opening-night bill is Helen Haig'sMy Legacy, a personal documentary that considers how the need to be strong in a harsh world can result in a default mistrust, thus making it that much harder to open up to love — and worse, how that mistrust can be passed down from mothers to daughters. Meanwhile, Nick Brandestini's lovely documentary Children of the Arcticlooks at a year in the lives of Native Alaskan teenagers in the way-up-north town of Barrow, Alaska, where the average November temperature is a balmy 6 degrees. It's not all well-meaning documentaries, though. Also screening is Mark D. William's hella-indie thrillerViolet, about a young couple who move into a seemingly perfect house that turns out to have a dark and spooky history. That's the thing about the past: It always catches up.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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