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From myth to truth: Native American Film Festival

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(Posted Oct. 2) From almost the beginning of the U.S. film industry, mainstream America has been portraying – in most cases inventing portrayals – of its indigenous population. In recent years, though, artists representing that population – painters, photographers, poets, novelists and filmmakers – have been reworking their images. And, in the process, searching for something much closer to a truth.

That’s likely what you can expect to find Saturday at Sandpoint’s Panida Theater when the Idaho Mythweaver will present its American Indian Film Festival. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., will include four films written and directed by native filmmakers: “ Injunuity,” “ Indian Relay,” “Grab” and the documentary feature “ This May Be the Last Time.”

In his review for Variety, film critic Guy Lodge wrote this about “This May Be the Last Time”: “An Oklahoma-based son of the Seminole tribe himself, (filmmaker Sterlin) Harjo begins by matter-of-factly relating the story of his grandfather’s mysterious death in 1962 – a sincere pretext for a probing examination of the singular-sounding spiritual music that nursed his family through their grief.” 

Tickets to the four-film program run $12 and are available in advance online at panida.org, at various locations around Sandpoint and at the door. 

Dan Webster

Movie viewing in Iceland

(Posted Monday) No matter where I go, I seem to be haunted by film. I write this in a hotel room in Reykjavik, Iceland, where I am on a weeklong stay with my wife. This country, which is just slightly smaller than the state of Ohio, claims a population – about 320,000 – that is less than that of Spokane County. Yet it boasts a film festival that is as varied as it is impressive.

We arrived in Reykjavik about 6 a.m. Sunday morning. And after busing from Keflavik Airport to the capital, we dropped our bags off at our hotel (the Hotel Holt), and walked around. Reykjavik is relatively small and, not unlike Spokane, has a central area that is easy to navigate on foot.

In the late afternoon, we headed to the Bio Paradis theater where, with no problem at all, we were able to see three documentary features on the final day of the Reykjavik International Film Festival. “Evaporating Borders,” which explores the immigration problem facing Cyprus (but that has implications for the entire world). “Ballet Boys,” which explores the world of youth ballet in Oslo, Norway. And “Waiting for August,” a study of family life in contemporary Romania.

And that’s how we spent our first day in Reykjavik. No film festival today. Guess we’ll have to hit a few museums.

Wonder if we can find one devoted to movies?

Dan Webster

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