Staff Report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Everett Osceola, the cultural ambassador for The Seminole Tribe of Florida, was awarded a $50,000 grant through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s 2016 Knight Arts Challenge in Miami. The funding will be used to support the annual “N8tive Reel Cinema Festival,” the first Native American film festival in the southeast United States.

The foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge funds ideas that bring South Floridians together through the arts. The N8tive Reel Cinema Festival, which was founded by Osceola, was recognized for highlighting the words and works of indigenous peoples and providing an in-depth look into Native culture and tradition through cinema.

“This generous funding will put the N8tive Reel Cinema Festival on the map,” Osceola said. “We can expand our youth programs and bring the works of unknown Native talent to the general public. I know this grant will help make our vision a reality.”

A collaborative effort between the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Seminole Paradise and the Historic Stranahan House Museum, the inaugural festival took place in February 2016 at the Hard Rock during the Annual Seminole Tribal Fair and Pow Wow.

Formerly Native Reel Cinema Fest, the two- day event featured a free screening of Kiowa/Choctaw director and writer Steven Paul Judd’s film, “Ronnie BoDean,” starring Wes Studi, a critically acclaimed Cherokee actor. The film, which was followed by an interactive Q&A session with Judd, showcased the first Native American ‘anti-hero,’ allowing for a new opportunity to explore the culture’s representation in films.

“With the Knight Arts Challenge grant, we envision expanding N8tive Reel Cinema Festival into a larger, multi-day film festival showcasing a series of films by Native American filmmakers and featuring more Native American talent,” said April Kirk, executive director of the Historic Stranahan House Museum, a partner and supporter of N8tive Reel Cinema Festival. “There’s even potential to exhibit other forms of visual arts, music and entertainment from Native American artists. We can’t thank Knight Foundation enough for allowing us to explore this one-of-a-kind opportunity.” The next N8tive Reel Cinema Festival will take place February 10-11 in 2017 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The lineup of films and artists will be announced in January 2017.

Emerging from nearly 1,000 submissions, N8tive Reel Cinema Festival was one of 68 finalists in the Knight Arts Challenge Miami. The winners of challenge will receive a combined $2.5 million to fund their respective projects. Since 2005, Knight Foundation has invested $122 million in South Florida’s arts, supporting both large institutions and smaller, grassroots groups alike.