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Indigenous Showcase Highlights Native Cultures And Filmmakers

Ciara Lacy
The film "Out of State" was recently featured in the Indigenous Showcase at the Northwest Film Forum


This year’s Indigenous Showcase at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum comes to a close Saturday. The annual event has been around for a decade and has given many Indigenous filmmakers an outlet to tell stories about their culture.


Tracy Rector is the woman behind the showcase. She launched the company Longhouse Media, which focuses on Indigenous filmmakers. But Rector says funding projects wasn’t enough.


“What’s truly important is getting those stories seen and heard.”


Rector partnered with the Northwest Film Forum to make that happen through the annual showcase.


“There’s certain films that draw out more audiences than others. For example, every time we screen a Hawaiian film they always sell out because the community is so strong here in Seattle," Rector said. "So that tells me there’s a real yearning to present more of those stories coming from the Pacific Islanders.”


One of the films recently screened is “Out of State,” a documentary by Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ciara Lacy.


The film focuses on Native Hawaiian inmates who are shipped to a prison in Arizona due to overcrowding in Hawaiian facilities. The prisoners reconnect to their culture while behind bars. Lacy follows three men and their journey inside and outside the prison.



Lacy explained the film could have been very different if it was made by someone else.


“I can connect on what it means to be a Hawaiian. I can connect in terms of what it means to be a Hawaiian from away from home and separated from your family and your loved ones,” Lacy said.


Although her film focuses on Native Hawaiians, Lacy says the story is really about people finding ways to be part of the world around them.


“You know if we give people an entry to a world that they feel like is new, and there’s a discovery and a learning process, we find out at the end of the day we’re all the damn same,” she said.


She said she values having opportunities to share stories of her people so she can show those connections.


The final showings in this season's Indigenous Showcase are scheduled for Saturday at the Northwest Film Forum.


Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.