Sundance Sets Inaugural Indigenous House With IllumiNative (Exclusive)

The social justice organization will hold events at the film festival Jan. 21 and 22.

By Rebecca Sun

Crystal Echo Hawk
IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk

Courtesy of IllumiNative

Sundance will continue to see a number of first-time official “houses” dedicated to specific cultural groups during the 2023 festival. IllumiNative, the Indigenous social justice organization founded in 2018, will host the inaugural Indigenous House on Main Street in Park City from Jan. 21 and 22.

“The entertainment industry has always been one of the biggest perpetrators of our erasure, but Native peoples have flipped the script and are breaking barriers and making incredible strides in representation. The Indigenous House is a celebration of the contributions made by Native creatives, artists, filmmakers and the creativity, beauty and strength of Native peoples,” IllumiNative founder and executive director Crystal Echo Hawk said in a statement. “Our hope is to create a space where Native and non-Native peoples can come together in community, learn and get inspired, acknowledge the barriers Native peoples have overcome and still face in the film industry, as well as celebrate the Native films selected for this year and the opportunities in the future to bring more Native stories, talent and voices to audiences.”

The two-day schedule of events will include dinners and panel discussions that integrate film with music, fashion and food. Themes discussed will focus on Native impact on pop culture and society, including: Indigenous women and women of color in entertainment; the growing role of tribes as well as Native talent and companies in the film industry; the importance and impact of visibility and representation; and the contribution of Native creatives, activists and other leaders in the entertainment industry.

At Indigenous House, IllumiNative is also expected to unveil its new research on the impact of Native films and television shows on audiences, as well as offer opportunities to partner with and invest in Indigenous creatives and Indian Country. The house is made possible with support from Open Society Foundations, the Pechanga Band of Indians, Pop Culture Collaborative, Decolonizing Wealth Project, The Christensen Fund, Culture Change Fund, MacArthur Foundation and Nielsen.