Emerging Visual Anthropologists Showcase

Tonto Plays Himself 1_1000

In this special showcase we present three of the finest shorts to come out of the Visual Anthropology tradition. Laura Murray’s A Kiss for Gabriela tells the story of Gabriela Leite, the first sex worker to run for Brazilian Congress, and who in 2010 faced down 822 opponents and a male-dominated political system, becoming a cultural icon in the process. Doing the Sheep Good, by Teresa Montoya, charts the life of the films and photographs in the series Navajo Film Themselves, made by Navajo youth who were taught to use cameras as part of a 1966 experiment by two anthropologists, as they are about to be repatriated to their community. Tonto Plays Himself, by the devoted cinephile Jacob Floyd, confronts the filmmaker’s anxieties about representations of Native Americans in film as he explores the 1930s and ‘40s career of his actor cousin Victor Daniels, a.k.a. Chief Thundercloud.

This year’s theme invites audiences to come to the Museum to engage in the powerful experience of seeing culture on film. It is an invitation to come to the festival to see new reflections of “your” ”self,” to have audiences understand themselves in relation to other individuals and to various communities. It invites viewers to reflect on ways of seeing—how we perceive visual culture and how our identities shape how we look and what we see. The theme also raises questions about what it means to authentically see something for yourself—do you need to be in a place physically to understand a place or its cultures? Or how can we be transported to “see for ourselves” through film?

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Noelle Stout, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Center of Culture and Media, NYU.

Co-presented by New York University's Program in Culture and Media, Department of Anthropology and Film and Video Center, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian