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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In 1998, a narrative feature-length film, Smoke Signals, became a commercial success. Directed by Chris Eyre, who also wrote the screenplay with Sherman Alexie, the film-as-event is considered a watershed in narrative fiction filmmaking, in part because it accurately portrays American Indians and their own identities. Smoke Signals is an example of Indigenous American cinema (defined as American Indian/First Nations cinema), which is probably best understood today as a story of many stories. This chapter explores the reaction of spectators to the film, particularly the extent to which it would affect the future of cinema. It considers the specific cultural text of Indigenous American cinema by assessing its characteristics and looks at practitioners who have shaped, and continue to shape, Indigenous American cinema and its place within the so-called global “screenscape” (“First Nation Cinema”).

Keywords: Smoke Signals, Chris Eyre, Sherman Alexie, filmmaking, American Indians, Indigenous American cinema, screenscape, First Nation Cinema

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