The Marquee

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2021 Sundance Institute Indigenous Short Film Tour

by Amy Cole

“Embrace those moments when you think you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time … There are so many great stories yet to be told.”

— Bird Runningwater

At the Picture House’s centennial kick-off celebration, Marquee Night 2021, we were joined by a remarkable slate of impressive honorees and industry luminaries including our Industry Impact Award-winner, Bird Runningwater (view Runningwater’s acceptance remarks here) who TIME magazine recently named among its “12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists.”

Bird belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Tribal Nations, and grew up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. Since 2001, he has guided the Sundance Institute’s investment in Native American and Indigenous filmmakers while building a global Indigenous film community. He has nurtured a new generation of filmmakers whose films have put Indigenous Cinema into the global marketplace, including director Sterling Harjo, who also joined us to give a heartfelt tribute to Bird (view Harjo’s tribute here). 

Today, Bird serves as the Director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program, where under his tenure, 140 different Indigenous filmmakers have been mentored and supported through Labs, Grants and Fellowships. More than 110 films written, directed, and produced by Indigenous filmmakers have been curated by Bird to premiere at Sundance Film Festival, and over the past 10 years alone, Sundance Institute has welcomed nearly 90 different Indigenous tribes and nations from around the world.

This week we are pleased to shine a light on multi-tribal and multi-generational Indigenous filmmakers and share their stories through the 2021 Sundance Institute Indigenous Short Film Tour. This free 85-minute virtual offering features fiction, documentary, animation, and experimental works from around the world, giving new audiences a taste of what Indigenous filmmakers have to offer. We hope you take some time to explore this program. As always, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at or comment on our social media channels.