Film and theatre

This page lists films and plays that involve small, Indigenous or endangered languages. Some of these are made in Indigenous languages while others advocate the need to support endangered languages.

 

General resources

The American Indian Film Gallery is a gallery of vintage motion pictures which offers rich perspectives on the American Indian experience. It is free of charge for viewing and downloading for educational purposes.

The Indigenous film page of the Australian government's Culture Portal lists films with either portrays Indigenous people, issues and stories or is film made by Indigenous Australians.

Endangered Languages On Film, Video & DVD by Ole Stig Andersen has an extensive listing of films up to 2006.

Our World is a workshop initiative designed to give young First Nations people in remote BC/Yukon communities a chance to create web stories to tell the world about themselves, their home and their community.

Language revitalization videos page links to a range of YouTube videos focusing on endangered languages from around the world and their revitalization.

Dakota language videos page links to a range of videoed stories created in partnership between the Dakotah Language Institute and the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) to support Dakota.

Macfarlane, Heather. 2010. Beyond the Divide: The Use of Native Languages in Anglo-and Franco-Indigenous Theatre Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne Volume 35 (2)

 

Commentary

11 January, 2007 Why not make films in Indigenous languages? by Jane Simpson on Endangered Languages and Cultures blog

 

2013

The Ways

        An ongoing series of stories on culture and language from Native communities around the Central Great Lakes.

Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho' (Language healers)

        A film about the importance of Native American languages and the work being done to save them.

Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho' (Language Healers)
Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho' (Language Healers)
Heenetiineyoo3eihiiho' (Language Healers)

 

2012

On the Road with Bob Holman

This series follows downtown New York poet Bob Holman as he travels the globe in search of the roots of spoken word and on the way stumbles across the endangered language crisis.

Lûden fan taal

The first film in a series, This film describes the reconstruction of historical sound material in the archives of the Pushkinsky Dom, the Russian Institute of Literature in Saint Petersburg. It shows the collection of Edison wax cylinders and the way material of some endangered languages in
Russia can be obtained from these recordings. The Mercator Centre has put this film on the internet and makes it possible for a general
public to learn about the use of these archive materials for the study of endangered languages.

2011

The Language Archive (USA)

In this play by Julia Cho, the lead character, George, is a linguist working to document and archive endangered languages.

Chasing Voices: The Story of John Peabody Harrington and the Indigenous Language Revitalization Movement (USA)

This documentary, directed by Daniel Golding, is currently under development. It tells the story of linguist and anthropologist John Peabody Harrington and his life's work to document Native America's highly endangered languages.

We Still Live Here  Âs Nutayuneân (USA)

This film by Makepeace Productions tells a remarkable story of cultural revival by the Wampanoag of Southeastern Massachusetts, USA.

Languages lost and found (USA)

This film by the Endangered Language Initiative, CUNY, brings the world’s voices together with stunning visual imagery to tell the story of linguistic diversity and language endangerment

 

2010

Mother's Tongue (Australia)

This play by the Yirra Yakin Aboriginal Corporation is a contemporary Indigenous story about David and Ngala, a brother and sister trying to find their way in life after the death of their grandmother, the keeper of secrets and last custodian of the knowledge of a whole language group. After her death, David is the only person left alive that can speak his mother’s tongue.

The Language Archive (USA)

This play is about a man devoted to the study of language who struggles to find the right words to save his career and his marriage.

The Young Ancestors (USA)

This documentary follows a group of Native American teens who are learning their native Tewa language through a Self Study Course implemented as a pilot program by the Indigenous Language Institute.

Vanishing Voices (UK)

6.34 minute video clip focusing on endangered Himalayan languages

City of Endangered Languages (USA)

4.34 minute video clip focusing on endangered languages spoken in New York City

Our First Voices (Canada)

This documentary celebrates 13 BC First Nations languages and pays tribute to the drive to preserve and revitalize them for future generations.

 

2009

Speaking in Tongues (USA)

Finding our Talk Series 3 (Mushkeg Media)

Languages: Anishnabe, Mi'gmaq, Abenaki, Ktunaxa, Guymbaynggirr, Chitimacha, Mayan, Sami, Hawaiian, Aymara, Maori

Southern California Indigenous Languages Pilot Film

Ebuwa (Dir. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen)

Edo language, Nigeria

 

2008

Sikumi (On the Ice) (Dir. Andrew Maclean)

Iñupiaq language, USA
 

Kanien’kehá:ka - Living the Language (Prod. Paul M. Rickard and George Hargrave)

Mohawk language, Canada

 

2006

Ten Canoes (Prod. Rolf de Heer)

Ganalbingu language, Australia

 

2002

Finding our Talk Series 2 (Mushkeg Media)

Languages: Mohawk, Maliseet, Ojibway, Naskapi

 

2001

Finding our Talk Series 1 (Mushkeg Media)

Languages: Mi'kmaq, Mohawk, Algonquin, Huron, Attikemekw, Innu, Cree, Inuktitut, Ojibway, Michif, Saulteaux, Sencofen