Created in 1979 within the former Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation in New York, the Film and Video Center (FVC) was the country's oldest media arts center for Native and indigenous film. The center was dedicated to promoting Native and indigenous filmmaking throughout the Americas and opening up new opportunities for Native film.
One of its major programs was the biennial Native American Film + Video Festival (NAFVF), which showcased new works of independent film and videomakers and Native American mediamakers, with a focus on current issues and contemporary life. The Festival ran from 1979 to 2011.
In addition to the NAFVF, the FVC also presented and supported a variety of film festivals. Starting in 2000 as a partnership with the Center for Contemporary Arts, the Native Cinema Showcase brought Native films and filmmakers to Santa Fe's Indian Market. Among the other festivals it participated in or supported are: the Pacifika Showcase; the D.C. Environmental Film Festival; First Nations/First Features: A Showcase of World Indigenous Cinema; the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum's Native FilmFest in Palm Springs, California; and Arizona State Museum's Native Eyes Film Festival in Tucson, Arizona.
FVC also hosted two film ongoing film series that showed feature-length films, followed by discussion: Dinner and a Movie in Washington, D.C., and At the Movies in New York. At each location there were regular daytime screenings for general audiences and frequent special programs. In Washington, films were shown several time a week that were geared towards families, educators, and students. In New York, daily screenings highlighted topics related to current exhibitions and important themes in contemporary Native American life. Also in New York, FVC presented Especially for Kids which was a daily morning program for children.
In addition the FVC published
Native Americans on Film and Video
(2 volumes) which serves as a compilation of primarily documentary films made by and about Native Americans. Not only do the volumes contain listings of video tapes and films, including general descriptions, production data, running times, production credits, language of the production, and distribution information; but also sections on special film collections across the country and additional resources.
Another project that the FVC worked on was developing the website, Native Networks / Redes Indigenas, which reflected the live meetings and workshops that the FVC organized for filmmakers attending the NAFVF.