Day Four in Santa Fe
Today was a busy day for NMAI staff working in Santa Fe during our Native Cinema Showcase at the New Mexico History Museum. We had eight films that were a part of the Showcase Shorts program. The diverse selection of works from Indian Country began with “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco” that has an old man telling his grandson a tall tale about his search for true love, “Indian Elvis” where we meet Michael Loman, a Choctaw Elvis impersonator, fancy dancer and flute player, finally there was “Shimasani” about a young Navajo girl who must decide whether to retain her traditional lifestyle at home with her grandmother or seek a new life “just over the mountain.”
We had two showings of each group of films and after the second screening we had two of the directors join the audience for Q&A. Steven Judd (Choctaw) the director for “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco” and Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo), director of “Shimasani.” They talked about the casting process and how it took Judd up to six months to find the right lead in Noah Watts while Lowe went closer to home and used family members and worked closely with his mom who is a Navajo language teacher and made sure that the words were being pronounced correctly. Click here to see the trailer for SFTWBIT.
The glamorous people came out for the NMAI reception hosted by Jill Udall at the Blue Rain Gallery. State Representative Ben Ray Luján was in attendance along with actor Wes Studi, Pojoaque Pueblo Governor George Rivera and Laguna Pueblo Governor Richard Luarkie. Here are a couple of shots from the reception.
Finally, we had the opening night film screening of “On the Ice” which is a suspenseful drama of two young men who go seal hunting but a turn of events has them dealing with more than they can handle. The film was introduced by the writer/director, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Inupiaq) and the producer, Cara Marcous. The house was completely packed and after the screening MacLean and Marcous returned to answer questions from the audience. It was interesting to learn that that the film took three years to complete and five years if you include the trailer. They shot it in April and May in Barrow, Alaska. The leads in the movie were not professional actors and the search to find the cast took them all over Alaska and the dad in the film auditioned by a YouTube video that his niece filmed.
Wow, a lot going on and only more to come. Please come out to see the rest of the films, to see the full schedule go to www.swaia.org.
See you on the Plaza!!
- Leonda Levchuk (Navajo)