2011 Sundance Docs in Focus: GRAB

This year’s Indigenous Showcase features a collection of shorts and Billy Luther’s latest documentary, GRAB, focusing on an annual Laguna Pueblo ceremony.

Sundance Program Description:

In his second time at Sundance, Billy Luther gives audiences an intimate look inside one of his own Native American tribes, where cameras have never been allowed before. Each year residents of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico honor individual family members by throwing food and gifts from the rooftops of their homes to the community that gathers below. Luther’s film follows three families as they prepare for this ancient tradition, which has taken many modern twists.

Photographing with great visual flair, Luther sculpts an emotional tribute to his community, a community that’s filled with abundant generosity and rooted in tradition. As the seconds tick away leading up to the moment of the grab, the arms of children reach to the sky to prepare for being showered with water, gifts, and blessings. With GRAB, Luther confirms his place as one of today’s most exciting filmmakers portraying the beauty of the modern Native American experience.

Some Background:
Luther’s previous documentary, MISS NAVAJO, screened in Park City in 2007 and later on PBS’ INDEPENDENT LENS. His Executive Producers, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey or World of Wonder, also have another film in the festival, BECOMING CHAZ, which I previously profiled here.

Why You Should Watch:
Beyond documenting an unusual and intriguing Native American custom, GRAB also features some stunning cinematography, capturing the beautiful Southwestern terrain. Most intriguing, Luther employs an unusual storytelling device in Sundance favorite Parker Posey’s engaging narration – there’s an almost hypnotic quality to her tone, and moments of humor that prove quite effective.

Screening Info:
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also have an official website including a mailing list sign-up to keep audiences updated about future screenings and other developments.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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