News Flash


Posted on: September 17, 2018

Shining Mountains Film Festival - October 7 and 8

awakening pic

As a celebration of Native American culture and history, The Shining Mountain Film Festival will debut nine dynamic and diverse films on October 7th and 8th 2018. This date commemorates Indigenous People’s Day which, as of last year, the City of Aspen now celebrates in place of Columbus Day. The film series explores activism, spirituality, loss and victory within the Native American culture. American Indian filmmakers and guests will appear alongside their documentaries, shorts, and feature films that exhibit the struggles and beauty contained within the Native American culture past and present. $15 festival tickets are on sale (with special Wheeler Wins pricing available) at the Wheeler Opera House Box Office (970-920-5770 / Shining Mountains is produced by the Aspen Ute Foundation with generous support from the Wheeler Opera House and City of Aspen.

The Shining Mountain Film Festival will kick off Sunday, October 7th with two afternoon sessions. The first session will start at 3:30 PM with a blessing by Roland McCook, former Chairman of the Northern Ute Tribe. In this film session, you’ll discover how the Utes’ legacy continues to have an impact in Colorado today in “The Original Coloradans,” produced by Julie Speer, followed by a Q&A session with Roland McCook. Next up will be LaRonn Katchia’s “Awakening” about a grandmother who sends her unwilling grandson to see a Shaman. To overcome his fears, he must find his culture within him. Roaring Fork local Skyler Lomahaftewa is features in "The Ute Bear Dance Story" about the traditional Bear Dance and will be in conversation with the filmmaker after. The final film of session one is “Conspiracy to be Free” by Colter Johnson. This film is the story of Oglala Lakota activist Russell Means, and follows his career from 1970s activism to the entertainment industry in the 2000s. His son, Scott Means, will end the afternoon with a question-and-answer discussion.

Dave Taylor and Anuk Bald Eagle co-produced “Whitewashed,” a documentary that digs into history to explain generational traumas and shows the resilience of the American Indians will lead into session two that same evening at 6:30 PM. James Anaquad Kleinert’s “Horse Medicine” will reconnect hearts with the power of the horse and Mother Earth; Kyle Bell’s “Defend the Sacred,” a documentary that attempts to capture the spirit of Indigenous people at Standing Rock will appear next.  Nina Barbier’s “The Last Battle of Lakota Indians” will continue the evening with a focus on “Healing Camps,” and what happened after Standing Rock. The session concludes with an expert panel of speakers including Anuk and Phyllis Bald Eagle and Amos Cook.

On Monday, October 8th, at 6:00 PM, “Neither Wolf Nor God”, Steven Lewis Simpson’s film retelling the true story of a white author sucked into a road trip through Native American Country, will debut before a Q&A with family members of the film’s main character, as played by Chief Dave Bald Eagle. Between the film screening and the panel discussion, Native American flute player Moontee Sinquah and hoop dancers will perform.

The Shining Mountain Film Festival is presented in honor of Aspen’s second year of declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples Day.” As Aspen’s first Native American film festival, the film series celebrates the spirit of our nation’s indigenous cultures. For more information, please visit

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