Screen Presence

Posted November 11, 2015 by The Argonaut in This Week

Culver City’s LA Skins Fest raises the profile of Native American filmmakers

By Christina Campodonico

Featured films include “Wind Walkers,” about an ancient curse, and “#NightsLikeThese,” about the desensitizing effects of social media

Featured films include “Wind Walkers,” about an ancient curse, and “#NightsLikeThese,” about the desensitizing effects of social media

When film director Ian Skorodin noticed that there wasn’t a film festival for Native Americans in Los Angeles, he decided to start his own: LA Skins Fest.

Creating a film festival for, by and about Native Americans, he thought, could generate stronger ties between L.A.’s native community and the entertainment industry.

“It was hard to get notoriety in Los Angeles from studios and networks, so that’s why I created the festival, to maintain a presence,” Skorodin says.

The festival will screen nearly 50 films featuring Native American writers, directors, actors and themes in Culver City this weekend.

A feature showing of “Wind Walkers,” about a group of friends plagued by a malevolent curse in the Florida Everglades, takes place at 8 p.m. Friday and is one of several free festival highlights.

The documentaries “The Marking of a Milestone,” which traces the history of the indigenous people of the lower Colorado River from precolonial to modern times, and “Restoration of the Spirit,” about the damage done by the 1954 dissolution of federal recognition for the Klamath Tribes, will each screen for free from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Films by 20 Native American student filmmakers will screen on Saturday starting at 3 p.m., and there will also be screenings of films by Native American women filmmakers 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Shorts and mini-documentaries will also screen throughout the weekend.

For Skorodin, running the LA Skins Fest is about more than just screening films, it’s also about building a community where Native American indie filmmakers can show their work and build connections through workshops and panels.

In addition to the festival, the L.A. Skins fest offers a youth multimedia program that goes to reservations in the summers to teach kids how to make films, a monthly workshop for native writers, and opportunities for native writers to pitch projects to film executives.

In this way, the LA Skins Fest, now in its ninth year, has evolved from an event that assembles Native American films into a vehicle for inspiring more Native American filmmakers.

“It encourages the filmmakers, gives them the opportunity to screen their work, see it with an audience,” says Skorodin. “And they can grow from that.”

The LA Skins Fest runs through Nov. 15. Screenings are held at Culver Studios, 9336 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Screenings are free, but you must RSVP at For a full schedule of films, visit

One Comment

    Ann Brown

    How wonderful that the Native American students get to do this , i find that it is just a stepping stone in a very important direction about getting out the true story’s of the different Native tribes. I know that i’ll never get there to see them ,but i hope that they will someday be on a DVD or TV
    My heart is so full of happiness for these young students and i hope that many more will follow them into this business Best of Luck to all involved………

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