American Indian Film Festival

AIFI's Restoration Relief Fund


On Tuesday Dec. 11, 2018 our festival office, located in the Mission District of San Francisco, suffered sudden water damage by a catastrophic rooftop water heater failure. The water heater which belonged to the building we rented from, poured water through the roof which created a large opening in our ceiling where liquid flowed into our storage space damaging a great deal of AIFI archival items.



We have used this festival office space to house our archival belongings for the last 2 1/2 years. The day we discovered the damage, we were informed by building management that the incident had actually occurred a week prior. The incident left us with damaged items including: original (signed) festival prints going as far back as 1975, 43 years of festival posters, boxes of water damaged video archival media tapes, soaked festival program books from the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s, soaked computers & electronics, and water logged office furniture.



Due to the humidity build-up in the room, hazardous mold/fungi formed onto our festival prints/posters, admin files, and books. The hazardous air quality in the room brought us to seek the professional help of a property restoration company where they immediately began the removal of our highly sensitive water/mold damaged contents. The team worked quickly for 2 weeks leading up to the holidays as we were being pressured by the building management to vacate the premises as soon as possible. In the 2 weeks spent clearing out our festival office, the restoration company removed heavily impacted items and transported them to their facility for further restoration processing in their Thermal Vacuum Freeze Dryers. In addition, we filled up two moving trucks of assorted items, from files, to archival festival programs, stacks of posters (framed and unframed), and office furniture which had to be taken to landfill as they were unrepairable. 


As one truck went to the restoration facility and another to landfill, we still had our last remaining items in the office that had been untouched by the water.  Leading up to New Years, we assembled a tiny crew of friends and family to help us move our remaining items from the building and into a rental storage facility in San Francisco.



By mid January, I was able to find a new home base for AIFI and relocate us to the Intersection for the Arts building, a shared workspace located on Market Street in San Francisco, where we rent a desk for the time being. 



The catastrophic incident has left our organization devastated and in a vulnerable spot as we are now needing to raise $50,000 to pay the restoration fee services which include: specialized HEPA cleaning protocols, hazardous testing, removal and disposal of black water and mold/fungi damaged materials, repairs, transportation, sorting and packing damaged items, technical specialist, general laborers, moving trucks, waste removal services, and thermal vacuum freeze drying.

At the moment, I am a one-woman team navigating my way through these waters. Any assistance you can provide at this time would be greatly appreciated as I work to overcome this hurdle.

With Respect,
Mytia Zavala, Executive Director
American Indian Film Institute


The American Indian Film Institute’s mission is to foster understanding of the culture, traditions and contemporary issues of Native American people and our communities by showcasing Native people’s narratives in contemporary film. The annual American Indian Film Festival® held in San Francisco every November celebrates native film and brings culture, creativity, education, tribal and non-tribal communities together to honor the art of narrative and Native people on the big screen. 



The Indigenous Arts Institute (InArts) is dedicated to promoting Indigenous Peoples in film & television, visual arts, performing arts and media through education about Indigenous Peoples issues, stories, cultures and life-ways.

Donations (0)

  • Cathy Cory 
    • $25 
    • 4 d
  • Teresa Beaver 
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 9 mos
  • Michael Horse 
    • $1,000 
    • 9 mos
  • Chrisann Hessing 
    • $20 
    • 10 mos
See all

Fundraising team (4)

Jessica Harjo 
Raised $250 from 3 donations
Rio Rancho, NM
Indigenous Arts Institute 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Jennifer Brady 
Team member
Cynthi Stefenoni 
Team member
Mytia Zavala 
Team member
This team raised $1,981 from 20 other donations.
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more