November 29, 2007
Praise for IMPRINT
A friend of mine won Best Actress at the American Indian Film Festival about a week ago for her work in IMPRINT, which also won best film. Tonantzin Carmelo is a California Mission Indian (Gabrielino and Mexica) who grew up performing in an American Indian dance troupe led by her mother, Virginia Carmelo.
What was most surprising to me about the film and the festival as a whole, was how little most of us know about present American Indian culture. It's as if its buried in our history, never to be discussed except for the snippets children learn in elementary school.
The amount I recall from those days is tragic and I grew up in an area that had a Mohawk River and in woods where we found an old arrow head that easily looked like it could have been 100+ years old.
A well educated Dutch woman who is passionate about American Indian culture, is now living in the Bay Area as an Au Pair. When she discusses this passion with friends and family, most are surprised any American Indians are still living. Her American friends have similar reactions or they think there are a few left, most of which are alcoholics living on reservations. Such a remarkably sad perception if that's all we know.
At the film festival, story after story was unraveled, some of them more traditional than others. IMPRINT managed to weave both traditional heritage with modern life and showed how hard it is for the next generation to 'honor' the last, many of the movie's lessons easily applied to all cultures.
It's interesting isn't it? Have you ever noticed how much of your heritage you incorporate the older you get, how much you look back and integrate everything you learned from your grandparents and those before them, turn to classic novels from another century; those authors who are long dead and gone. Ancient teachings always have a place in modern life. Always.
IMPRINT reminds us of the lucious loveliness of the 'ancient,' and that integrity always wins. It is also about loyalty, family, tradition, honor, and love. The main character Shayla Stonefeather (played by Tonantzin) is a prominent native American attorney who has turned away from her people and the dreams of her youth. When she returns to South Dakota, her ancestral home, to visit her dying father, ghostly apparitions begin to haunt her with frightening visions she has a hard time understanding or believing.
Directed by Michael Linn, its a movie worth seeing. Help me spread the word. Here's why. For anyone who has been to Sundance or other Indie festivals, you know that there are a number of gems that never reach a mainstream audience. Their budgets are small, Hollywood will rarely take them on unless they have known actors, and the more esoteric and deep it is, the less likely they 'think' it will be embraced by the masses.
They're likely right under the current guard, yet mass media, bloggers and endorsements from Oprah and others who have established trust with those masses, can help change the demand from mediocre same ole same ole romantic and dramatic flicks we see again and again to empowering films with heart and soul that will bring you back to important ancient messages we have long buried.
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