I got two heads ups from Facebook friends who are heading to Park City, UT in January.
First I have to say I love Billy Luther’s poster for his documentary “Grab,” and the tagline: “Indian-Giver Redefined.” Billy’s film, “Grab” is a portrait of a little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below. A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks, and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures. Luther’s film follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives leading up to this day.
I met Billy while he was promoting and screening “Miss Navajo,” about the annual contest for young Navajo women. One of my favorite docs and experiences meeting and hanging out with Billy and Crystal (subject of the film). “Grab” will have its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It was supported by the All Roads Film Project, so I’m guessing it will be part of the festival at National Geographic next year.
An earlier Sundance heads up came from Rashaad Ernesto Green who transformed his NYU student film project “Gun Hill Road” into a feature film. It will compete in the U.S. Dramatic category at Sundance. I remember when Rashaad was getting into production for this film or was it another. He’s got quite a plate. Rashaad was one of the scholarship recipients of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. Esai Morales, a co-founder of the organization, appears in “Gun Hill Road” as the father who returns to the Bronx to find his wife estranged and his teenage son stumbling towards a transformation that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test. What test, I’m not sure. But Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana, Vincent Laresca, and Miriam Colon round out the cast. The film is written and directed by Green.
Green’s Mi Alma Films has a purpose:
Mi Alma Films (“My Soul”) was created out of a need to make films that were truthful, fulfilling and heartfelt. We hope to encourage people to have an active emotional experience by telling stories that are deeply rooted within the universal human experience, making us truly aware of the world in which we live and the commonality within us all.
Or live trying.