MNA Announces 2012 Heritage Program Film Series
(Flagstaff, AZ)—The Museum of Northern Arizona’s 2012 Heritage Program Film Series will examine regional themes through Native films, documentaries, and a fictional “mockumentary.” These films are meant to spark viewers’ engagement with a broader world, by exploring the cultures of the Southwestern United States on April 21, July 7, and September 1.
The five films chosen for this series encourage innovative nonfiction and fiction storytelling that presents multiple points of view in a creative format. The proposed films range in length from a five minute home movie to a feature-length documentary.
Funded by Arizona Humanities Council, the film series will juxtapose current films with historic footage, accompanied by discussion on the content of the films, the art and role of film making, and the resources and, often times hidden, knowledge of archival films.
Saturday, April 21, 2–4 p.m.
MNA Dr. Robert Breunig and artist and educator Ramson Lomatewama will introduce both films and following their screening, they will lead an interactive discussion with the audience.
The Hopi: Corn is Life by Director Donald Coughlin, produced for the Museum of Northern Arizona, 20 minutes, 1982
Corn plays a central role in almost every aspect of Hopi cultural and spiritual life. It has been and continues to be an essential food, a holy substance used in nearly every religious ritual, and a major cultural symbol.
This award-winning film explores the traditional beliefs and survival skills which have enabled the Hopi culture to thrive. Narrator Lomatewama says, “With special strains of corn that they have developed over the centuries, the Hopis plant deep and pray that the katsina spirits will send the moisture needed for the corn. These spirit beings come by way of distant beautiful mountains and visit the villages every year.”
Hopi Songs of the Fourth World by Director Pat Fererro, 58 minutes
Documentary Feature Film, 1985 Sundance Film Festival
This may be one of the most beautiful and reflective films ever made by, for, and about American Indians. Trying not to focus on the problems or conflicts of the Hopi people, it attempts to look at the positive and holistic aspects of their lifestyle, showing us the harmony in Hopi life, so that we may all understand their unique perspectives of the world.
Told with elements of poetry, creation stories, and interviews, this film allows the viewer a glimpse of an ancient culture, one which may have instructive lessons for us all. We come away with a keen awareness of another culture and an appreciation for the reverence and interdependence of their lives.
Saturday, July 7, 6–8 p.m.
Introductions of films will be by film director Travis Hamilton and Northern Arizona film scholar Janna Jones from Northern Arizona University.
How to Make Fry Bread
American Indian Film Gallery, 1973 (5 minutes)
Northern Arizona University Film Scholar Janna Jones
Historic and home film footage from 1973 is from the American Indian Film Gallery, a web-based archive of films long buried in obscure vaults, unused and forgotten. The AIFG is a dynamic compilation of motion pictures about the original peoples of North and South America. To discuss the role of food and frybread in American Indian culture.
Jones will share the importance of AIFG’s historic films and there will be a frybread vendor onsite, so you can indulge in some of that round, hot, fluffy, deep-fried tasty delicacy.
More than Fry Bread by Emerging Mesa Filmmaker Travis Holt Hamilton
Mockumentary Film, 2010 (93 minutes)
This is a recently released film with all-Native cast. Twenty-two frybread makers, representing all twenty-two federally recognized tribes in Arizona convene in Flagstaff to compete for the made-up first annual Arizona State Frybread Championship. The film follows four of the contestants and was filmed in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Peach Springs, Arizona. Professional Native actors, as well as locals participate in the film, many of them participants of MNA’s Heritage Program Festivals.
Saturday, September 1, 2–4 p.m.
The Return of Navajo Boy, Directors Jeff Spitz and Bennie Klain
Documentary Feature Film, 2000 Sundance Film Festival and PBS Film (58 minutes)
Award-winning film The Return of Navajo Boy tells the story of a reunited Navajo family and a federal investigation into uranium contamination. Set in the stunning landscape of Utah's Monument Valley, this unforgettable documentary chronicles the extraordinary saga of how a rediscovered 1950s silent film reel leads to the return of a long-lost brother to his Navajo family. John Wayne Cly, adopted by Anglo missionaries, discovers his lost heritage and travels to Utah for an emotional reunion with his brothers and sisters.
Since the 1930s, members of the Cly family have lived in Monument Valley and appeared as subjects in countless photographs, postcards, and Hollywood westerns, and even in a home movie by legendary director John Ford and a propaganda film by a uranium mining company.
Part mystery, part expose, and wholly compelling, The Return of Navajo Boy engenders spirited discussion and most importantly, performs a healing for the Cly family with the chance to voice their story.
Attendance to the 2012 Heritage Program Film Series is included with admission to the Museum of Northern Arizona, which is $10 adults, $9 seniors (65+), $7 students (with student ID), $6 American Indians (10+), and $6 youths (10–17).
The Museum of Northern Arizona has a long and illustrious history and evokes the very spirit of the Colorado Plateau. It serves as the gateway to understanding this region, with nine exhibit galleries revealing Native cultures, artistic traditions, and natural sciences. MNA’s four Heritage Program festivals highlight the region’s cultures and encourage communication and the exchange of ideas between visitors, educators, and artists. The Museum is located three miles north of historic downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180, scenic route to the Grand Canyon. More information about MNA is at musnaz.org or 928.774.5213.