English and Navajo with English subtitles, 2013, 93 minutes, color, U.S.A., NEXT
Drunktown’s Finest is Sydney Freeland’s feature film debut and her response to a news story that characterized her hometown of Gallup, New Mexico, as “Drunktown, USA.” Nizhoni was adopted and raised as a Christian by a white family, transsexual Felixxia dreams of becoming a model, and Sickboy is headed to basic training so he can take care of his soon-to-be-born child. We observe the Navajo Nation from the inside out through the eyes of these three unlikely characters. At first our preconceptions are reinforced, but slowly, as each of their lives unfolds, we confront the reality of living in this community, and we see these three aspiring to leave their town behind.
Shot against a mesmerizing New Mexico landscape, Drunktown’s Finest portrays such a strong underlying tradition of acceptance and family that we start to wonder whether the outside world these characters crave is truly the answer. - B.R.
About the Director
Sydney Freeland has worked for a number of organizations, including the Food Network, Comedy Central, the National Geographic Society, PBS, and Walt Disney. She is also a recipient of the following awards: 2010 Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellowship, 2010 Sundance Institute Directing Fellowship, 2010 Eccles Directing Fellowship, 2009 Sundance Institute Native American Lab Fellowship, and a 2007 Disney scholarship. She was also a semifinalist for the 2008 Disney Fellowship. Freeland is a 2004 Fulbright scholar. She has an MFA in film and a BFA in computer animation.
Cast and Credits
Director: Sydney Freeland
Screenwriter: Sydney Freeland
Producers: Chad Burris, Mateo Frazier
Executive Producers: Robert Redford, Duncan Sill, Jasper Zweibel, Dennis Mykytyn
Editor: Harry Yoon
Composer: Mark Orton
Cinematographer: Peter Holland
Production Designer: Kevin Pierce
Principal Cast: Jeremiah Bitsui, Carmen Moore, Morningstar Angeline, Kiowa Gordon, Shauna Baker, Elizabeth Frances
THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL IS ONE PROGRAM OF SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT
DISCOVERS AND SUPPORTS INDEPENDENT FILM AND THEATRE ARTISTS FROM THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD
AND INTRODUCES AUDIENCES TO THEIR NEW WORK.