A screening of the suspense thriller produced by the noted Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre, “Imprint,” will launch SUNY Cortland’s Native American Film Series on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
Presented by the College’s Native American Studies Program, the cinema series is free and open to the public. All films will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. Every screening except the first will take place in Sperry Center, Room 204. “Imprint” will be shown in Sperry Center, Room 205.
“Imprint,” directed by Michael Linn, redefines what audiences expect of a film depicting Native America and women in Native America. The film tells the story of Shala Stonefeather, a Native American attorney who returns home to the reservation to make peace with her dying father. There, she starts seeing visions and hearing unexplained sounds. Stonefeather starts questioning the mystery surrounding her brother, who went missing years ago, and re-examining her traditional beliefs.
“Four Sheets to the Wind,” a coming-of-age drama set within the rhythms and landscapes of Oklahoma, will be shown Nov. 3. The film depicts a young man’s search for identity on the reservation and beyond. When Cufe Smallhill, portrayed by Cody Lightning, finds his father dead beside a bottle of pills, he fulfills his promise to sink the body in the family pond. His mission leads Smallhill to the big city of Tulsa with his sister, Miri, played by Tamara Podemski.
The award-winning film “Frozen River,” a story about illegal immigrant smuggling, will be shown Nov. 10. Produced by Heather Ray and written and directed by Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River” tells the story of Ray Eddy, an upstate New York trailer mom. Eddy is lured into the world of human trafficking when she meets a Mohawk girl who lives on a reservation that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. Broke after her husband takes off with the down payment for their new doublewide trailer, Eddy reluctantly teams up with Lila, a smuggler. The two begin making runs across the frozen St. Lawrence River carrying illegal Chinese and Pakistani immigrants in the trunk of Eddy’s car.
The film has earned much recognition, including the New York Film Critics Circle “Best First Film” and the Independent Spirit Awards’ “Best Female Lead” and “Piaget Producer Award.” The American Film Institute rated “Frozen River” as “one of the 10 best films of 2008” and Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert called it “one of the 20 best films of 2008.”
Concluding the series, the Canadian drama “Tkaronto” will be screened on Nov. 17. Ray Morin, a Métis writer, is in Tkaronto — the original Mohawk word for “Toronto” — to pitch his television series, “Indian Jones.” He must balance his ambition with a growing disdain for greedy executives who exploit aboriginal projects. Meanwhile, Jolene Peltier, an Anishinabe painter, is in the city conducting interviews for a series of portraits on prominent aboriginal people. When an elder gives her an eagle feather and sweetgrass, it confirms her deep-seated feeling that she should walk a spiritual path. For Morin and Peltier, both married, their chance meeting raises the difficult question of whether their questions of identity would be answered if they were together.
The series is sponsored by Native American Studies, the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies and the Auxiliary Services Corporation.
For more information, contact Native American Studies Program representative Dawn Van Hall at (607) 753-4890.