Category Archives: Films

Native Film Celebrates Success!

“The film “Neither Wolf Nor Dog’ celebrates most successful self-distributed feature film of 2017 including the longest theatrical run in U.S.” V. Schilling, ICMN

Courtesy InYo Entertainment Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, and Richard Ray Whitman on the road in ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’

Excerpt: Native Feature Film: Neither Wolf Nor Dog Celebrates Record Breaking Year for 2017 By Vincent Schilling, ICMN

“The main boasting point for Neither Wolf Nor Dog is that the film is an independent audience-financed and self-distributed release. The film was launched in small towns and went on to outperform Hollywood blockbusters in numerous multiplexes.

According to the film’s producer and director, Simpson, ‘No other filmmaker distributed movie has performed anywhere near as well in 2017.’

Courtesy InYo Entertainment Native American actor, Dave Bald Eagle in the film ‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog.’

Hugh Wronski, Senior Publicist for Lagoon theaters in Minneapolis, MN said, ‘The Lagoon’s opening weekend of Neither Wolf Nor Dog was the best weekend gross in the entire country. It’s nice to see that beautifully told stories can still find an audience.’ 

ICTMN

The filmmakers of Neither Wolf Nor Dog  also cited a higher proportion of Native-owned cinemas playing the film than any film before. “Around 10% of theaters were owned by tribes, or tribal members, including the Ak-Chin in Maricopa,” said Simpson…The film is worth noting for its simplicity and attention paid to Native culture. The film had 18 shooting days on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a crew of 2 and a 95-year-old lead Native American actor, Dave Bald Eagle.”

 

NOTICE: Schools and other groups that would be interested in setting up a showing of the film can email event@inyoentertainment.com. Those waiting for the DVD release can join the mailing list for information https://goo.gl/aBWYxw.

 

Category: Culture, Films

“Wanted: Navajo People – or their kids – Who Appeared in Old-Time Westerns”

“From about 1941 to 1957, the Navajo Reservation was visited by dozens of filmmakers who wanted to include the beauty of the scenery in their movies.  A documentary producer is researching those good old days and is looking for Navajos who appeared as extras in movies like John Ford’s ‘Stagecoach’ or ‘A Distant Trumpet.’ B. Donovan, Navajo Times

 

On the set of film Stagecoach. photo- Vanity Fair.

Excerpt: Wanted: People – or their kids – who appeared in old-time westerns, By  Bill Donovan, Navajo Times

“The problem for many of these films, however, is that they were made 70 or 80 years ago and most of those who were in the films have passed on. So the producers are also looking for children whose parents or grandparents may have been in the films and remember the stories they told about being in the films.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, director John Ford’s favorite scene for films. photo- tripadvisor

This is a low-budget documentary so people who are interviewed will receive no pay but it will give them a chance to preserve some of the film history that is unique to Navajo country.

Scene from film A Distant Trumpet

Scene from film Stagecoach by John Ford

If you want to be a part of the project, the person in charge of the project, Duncan Harvey, will be in the area this weekend and is looking for people to talk to.

The landscape of colossal sandstone formations straddling the Arizona-Utah state line has become an iconic image of the American West

He can be contacted at 602-765-7977 or 602-317-6337.

Category: Culture, Films

“Reviving a Lost Language Through Film”

“Speaking Haida for the first time in more than 60 years looked painful. Sphenia Jones’s cheeks glistened with sweat, and her eyes clenched shut. She tried again to produce the forgotten raspy echo of the Haida k’, and again she failed. Then she smiled broadly. ‘It feels so good,” Ms. Jones, 73, said. ‘Mainly because I can say it out loud without being afraid.’ Ms. Jones was sent far from home to a residential school to be forcibly assimilated into Western culture. When a teacher caught Ms. Jones learning another indigenous language from two schoolmates, Ms. Jones said, the teacher yanked out three fingernails.” C. Porter, The New York Times

Spehenia Jones, 73, speaking Haida again for the first time since she was a child. NYT

Excerpt: Reviving a Lost Language of Canada Through Film, by Catherine Porter, The New York Times

“It worked: Ms. Jones spoke nothing but English, until recently, when she began learning her lines in the country’s first Haida-language feature film, Edge of the Knife.

With an entirely Haida cast, and a script written in a largely forgotten language, the film reflects a resurgence of indigenous art and culture taking place across Canada. It is spurred in part by efforts at reconciliation for the horrors suffered at those government-funded residential schools, the last of which was closed only in 1996.

Restoring the country’s 60 or so indigenous languages, many on the verge of extinction, is at the center of that reconciliation. The loss of one language, said Wade Davis, a University of British Columbia anthropology professor, is akin to clear-cutting an ‘old-growth forest of the mind.’ The world’s complex web of myths, beliefs and ideas — which Mr. Davis calls the ‘ethnosphere’ — is torn, just as the loss of a species weakens the biosphere, he said. A Haida glossary dedicates three pages to words and expressions for rain.

Tyler York, the lead actor in Edge of the Knife, getting a traditional sea grizzly tattoo on his chest. Credit Ruth Fremson:The New York Times

‘English cannot begin to describe the landscape of Haida Gwaii,’ the Haida homeland, Mr. Davis said. That really is what language is.’ Fewer than 20 fluent speakers of Haida are left in the world, according to local counts. For the Haida themselves, the destruction of their language is profoundly tied to a loss of identity.

‘The secrets of who we are, are wrapped up in our language,’ said Gwaai Edenshaw, a co-director of the film, who like most of the cast and crew grew up learning some Haida in school but spoke English at home.

North Beach on Graham Island, part of the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii off British Columbia’s coast. Credit-Ruth Fremson:The New York Times

Mr. Edenshaw was a co-writer of the script for the 1.8 million Canadian dollar ($1.3 million) film, which is set in Haida Gwaii — an archipelago of forested islands off the west coast of Canada — during the 1800s. It tells an iconic Haida story of the ‘wildman,’ a man who is lost and becomes feral living in the forest. In this version, the wildman loses his mind after the death of a child, and is forcibly returned to the fold of his community in a healing ceremony.

Yan, an ancient Haida village in Haida Gwaii with a replica long house and totem pole, will be the location for filming “Edge of the Knife. CreditRuth Fremson:The New York Times

The film would seem cripplingly ambitious if not for the record of the executive producer, the Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk.  He made his name with  Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) which depicted an Inuit folk epic and starred untrained Inuit actors speaking their traditional language, Inuktitut.That film won the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, and is still considered one of the best Canadian films of all time. Local builders constructed a long house on the site of an old traditional village where the film [Edge of the Knife] is being shot.

Vern Williams sang traditional songs in the long house as the actors finished rehearsing. CreditRuth Fremson:The New York Times

A local musician, Vern Williams, was hired to create songs for the film. During the evenings of the language camp, he pulled out his guujaaw — drum — and filled the long house with his low, mournful voice.  Mr. Williams, 58, spent seven terrible years in a residential school.‘I don’t call this reconciliation,’ he said. ‘Something was taken. We are taking it back.’ A Haida artist tattooed clan crests on the chests and arms of willing actors in the traditional stick-and-poke fashion.

After a long day of stumbling over pronunciation, Mr. Russ, one of the actors, sat by the wood stove with his script open on his lap, enjoying Mr. Williams’s music for a moment. He had circled every line he found difficult, which were all 37.

His relaxation did not last long. ‘I’m starting to feel overwhelmed,’ he said, heading outside to practice.Two weeks was not enough to learn pronunciation, let alone memorize his lines. Then, he had to learn how to act.”

Category: Films

Film Moana to be Dubbed by Māori Natives!

“The call has gone out from The Walt Disney Animation Studios and Matewa Media who are searching for our very own Māori Moana as the movie is set to be dubbed in te reo Māori.” T. Koti, Māori Online News

Excerpt: Are you the Māori Moana? By  Tepara Koti, Māori Online News

“The Academy Award nominated animated feature Moana has particularly resonated with Māori and Pacific Island viewers who will no doubt be excited with the news.  The recording process will take place over the next few months with actors Rachel House (“Gramma Tala”), Temuera Morrison (“Chief Tui”), Jemaine Clement (“Tamatoa”) and Oscar Kightley (“Fisherman”) reprising their roles.

Te Whānau-a-Apanui’s Rob Ruha, a multi-award-winning composer and solo artist, has joined the team as both Musical Director and as an integral part of the translation/adaptation team. Release details are to be announced, with the goal to have the film shared both in festivals and on DVD for educational purposes in Aotearoa and beyond.

‘It’s been a big dream of mine to see mainstream movies translated into te reo Māori,’ says Waititi [director Taika Watiti].

‘For indigenous audiences to hear films in their own language is a huge deal, helping to normalize the native voice and give a sense of identification. It also encourages our youth to continue with their love and learning of the language, letting them know their culture has a place in the world.’

Note: Mauri Ora! We are on the search for our very own Māori speaking Moana. Auditions are due by June 15 so kia tere!

Casting information can be found on the Adrenaline Group website.

Category: Films

‘Killa’: A New Film About Saving Natives

“The director of Ecuador’s first Kichwa-language movie wants the public to know the plot-line but also that the problems facing all Indigenous Peoples in this hemisphere are based on colonialism and a lack of sovereignty.”  R. Kerns, ICTMN

Alberto Muenala, a highly respected Kichwa scholar and filmmaker directed “Killa”, a film presenting the issues Indigenous Peoples . Courtesy Frida Muenala

Excerpt:  Killa’: The Indigenous Story Against Mining and Corruption, by Rick Kerns, ICTMN

“The movie Killa (pronounced keeja) premiered in the second week of March. It tells the story of a Kichwa (one of the Quechua related ethnicities) photojournalist who takes incriminating photos of a mining company operation and how ‘a corrupt government official takes ruthless steps to stop their publication.’ The local Indigenous community rallies in defense of their land against the mining operation and that leads to a conflict with government forces.

With this film we hope to demonstrate how our values and principles of maternal respect to the Pachamama (Mother Earth) can lead all of us toward the ultimate goal of sumak kawsay (good living)—respect, dignity, and cultural coexistence.

Killa is the culmination of our community’s search for a cinematic voice. This ambitious project is the first feature-length film written, directed, and produced by Kichwa filmmakers in our native Kichwa language.

[ According to Director Albert Muenala] ‘Every day we are subjected to a process of continued colonialism that does not allow for the self-determination of the peoples; it has become common practice to auction and sell off territories to transnational oil and mining companies without prior consent of the first peoples,’.

The Mestizo audiences in Quito and Tulcan left the theaters pleased to see another way of making movies that show realities that they themselves are not aware of in themselves too (racism), as well as seeing how the attitudes of the rulers played out, Muenala stated. Killa will be shown in other parts of Ecuador and Muenala is hoping to bring the movie to the U.S. and elsewhere through film festivals.”

Category: Films

Native Thriller Mekko: Modern Warriors on the Streets

“For filmmaker Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek), making his stories feel real is crucial. The connections he made in the homeless community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Harjo is from, were real. So were the images, places and stories that all came to inspire his latest film, ‘Mekko’. Harjo describes the film as a thriller. T. Coleman, Native People Magazine

Scene from film Mekko

Scene from film Mekko

Excerpt: Sterlin Harjo’s “Mekko” By Travis Coleman, Native Peoples

“Shot in Tulsa, Harjo’s third feature film reflects the city sights and sounds—alongside other varied influences. It’s a story about Mekko, a parolee trying to rebuild his life after 19 years in prison for murder. He seeks redemption in confronting Bill, a cruel and possibly supernatural influence on the homeless community…The Muscogee story of the estekini (pronounced sta-genn-ee), an evil witch or shape-shifter, influenced the film. It’s kind of like our tribe’s boogeyman, Harjo says…While in Tulsa, Harjo began hanging with homeless people from his neighborhood and found many of them were Native Americans who had formed a community for themselves on the outskirts of society.

View  Mekko Trailer HD:

To play the title character, Harjo cast stuntman Rod Rondeaux (Crow)…Bill was played by Zahn McClarnon (Hunkpapa Lakota)… For the film, the actors worked alongside homeless people of downtown Tulsa, whom Harjo had met in a soup kitchen. Despite almost no major film-studio backing, Harjo has found success on the festival circuit and isn’t seeking to create films that could be considered commercially viable. That, he says, would feel gross.”

“If you spend your time talking about yourself, you lose sight about what your art is…I just constantly work … and try to tell stories.”~ Sterlin Harjo~

Category: Films