Indigenous Cinemas of the Future
Over the last several years, Indigenous ﬁlmmakers have explicitly drawn on science ﬁction genres. Engaging recent short ﬁlms depicting noncolonial encounters of the third kind and alternative utopian/dystopian futures, William discusses how Indigenous sci-fi provides a creative and subversive mode of representation. This genre helps to reimagine collective assumptions about Indigenous futures, while also providing a cultural mirror for reassessing the nature and limitations of Western future imaginaries. Drawing on over a decade of collaborative ethnographic fieldwork with Aboriginal Australian and Native American filmmakers, William broadens this discussion to engage larger contemporary Indigenous issues in Australia including treaty, sovereignty, justice, and the future.
William Lempert is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder. His dissertation, Palya Futures: The Social Life of Kimberley Aboriginal Media, is based on 28 months of ethnographic research in the Kimberley region of North Western Australia between 2006-2018. He followed the social lifecycles of dozens of film projects through daily collaboration within production teams to understand the stakes of Aboriginal self-representation embedded within the process of media making. He will be starting as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Bowdoin College this August.
Links to the works mentioned in William’s talk: