Briar March, director of the award-winning documentary There Once was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho, is delighted to screen her new film Smoke Songs at the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival. Briar completed the 20 minute documentary for her thesis work at Stanford University.
The film screens in Auckland on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 24th of July at the Queen St Cinemas alongside Jonathan Demme’s Neil Young Journeys. Smoke Songs was a finalist for the Student Academy Awards, and a nominee for the prestigous IDA Awards in Hollywood. It received the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the SF Indi Fest Documentary Film Festival in San Francisco and has screened at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in the United States.
Smoke Songs is about a Navajo punk rock band with a mission. Band members and sibblings, Jeneda, Clayson and Klee Benally find it impossible to separate their passion for music from their socio-political messages. Mixing pure punk rock on electric equipment with Native American words, rhythm and sometimes dance, their music carries messages about government oppression, relocation of indigenous people, genocide and other rigths that are often supressed in mainstream media.
March is enthusiastic about presenting the film.
“While searching on the Internet I stumbled across the band by accident. I felt that their music, and their unique approach to making and performing it, embodied a new way of thinking about indigenous identity. The film was made over 9 months during several blizzards in Flagstaff, and on a music tour throughout Arizona.”
“I am excited to share Smoke Songs at the New Zealand International Festival as I feel that the challenges facing Native American youth will resonate with audiences in Aotearoa.”
After spending three years in the States the director says she is excited to be home and is currently working on a live action short film which will be released next year.