Monday, November 12, 2012

"Dancing Salmon Home" honored by SFAIFF

At the Awards Night of the 37th Annual San Francisco American Indian Film Festival, an old and respected film festival, Chief Caleen Sisk accompanied with family and tribal members accepted the Best Documentary Award for the film.  Will and I found out when we saw the almost real-time post uploaded by cell phone by nephew Jesse Sisk, our tribe smiling ear to ear with the Chief in the center holding a humongous sculpture fashioned by Rance Hood, called "Film Indian." 

"Will, you won!!" I screamed from the office (really it's Jesse's bedroom when he gets here to go to LCC Culinary School.)  He ran in from his computer in the dining room.  We were online because the tribe was uploading as they could -- scenes of the venue, the winner of the music video category, then the long silence.  "That must be why they weren't posting anything," I said as he bent over my screen to see what his brain could not process -- the big lump the Chief held in her hands.  Yep!  Film Indian!

He could not believe it, stuck as the film was at the festival on a Tuesday noon.  Bad slot, but made even worse this year because it was Election Tuesday.  But people had come, and stayed put through 4 hours of other films for "Dancing Salmon Home."  Will asked the Chief to come up with him for the Q and A.  Lots of interest.  Lots of new learning about what happened in California to the tribes during the recent Reagan Era.  Crime.

On Tribal Ground was present at the SFAIFF, and the Chief gave an interview.  They will probably upload photos and the interview on their link.

On Native Ground

I tried to post their link on my link faves, but for some reason it does not receive youtube links.  It's mostly visual.  But now I've decided to write and post a blog about "Dancing Salmon Home" and Will, filmmaker and husband.    Catch up on films, music, and interviews of entertainment in Indian Country.

I want to take a moment to talk about Will because he does not think to talk this way about himself.  He's pretty special as a filmmaker.  He literally sees himself as an extension of the equipment.  Not diminishing himself.  As he says it, he has skills.  There is no god-like view of a talented man who calls his artistry skills.  I'm here to attest that his skills include his perspective on himself and his gift he brings into the world.  The power of the film is that the people (English word is "subject") in the film are portrayed by skillful editing in full power, their OWN power.  All documentary filmmakers can make powerful films.  But you must see the film to know what I mean.  He catches on film, moments which make it seem he is invisible.  And he is.  I've seen him.  Or more, I haven't seen him.  He's there but unnoticeable.  And for the interviews, maybe it's because he has been with the tribe so long and been teased by the young ones so long, but even then he almost gets away with the camera unseen.  Most of all, he "follows the people."  He picks up on them more than he looks at himself.  When he says (what he says often) "It's their film" he is being very accurate and when he says it is their film, he is not distancing himself as filmmaker.  He is moving closer and following, and with abandonment most directors and filmmakers don't do, he gives to the people, to the spirit and humbly follows.  Nothing in the way between him and them -- especially his ego.  He is one with the equipment.

Grandma blessed his camera and him a long time ago at her fire.  And he has not wavered from the purpose the Fire and his first Chief gave him.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.