Women crossing three generations from Sweden's native Sami community share the skill of herding reindeer. However, the traditionally nomadic practice depends on the ability to migrate with the herd, and businesses and leisure activities have begun to block their routes.
'Killer Whale and Crocodile'
Two of the world's greatest wood carvers are brought together through a common relationship with gallery director Elaine Monds and museum curator Dr. Carol Mayer. Culture and artistic knowledge are eagerly exchanged between John Marston of British Columbia and Teddy Balangu of Papua New Guinea.
Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief began dance lessons at age four in Oklahoma, left her Osage Indian Community to find stardom in the Big Apple and became nearly immortal by helping to establish the New York City Ballet while serving as muse for her husband/choreographer, George Balanchine.
Director Billy Luther follows Crystal Frazier through an unconventional beauty contest. Miss Navajo contestants are judged on their inner beauty, how fluent they are in Navajo and their proficiency in traditional tribal skills: frying bread, rug weaving and sheep butchering.
'Our Land, Our Life'
Carrie and Mary Dann, two elderly Shoshone sisters, have had a 30-year battle with the U.S. government over the rights to their own land, which has taken them to the Supreme Court and beyond.
'A Place Between: The Story of an Adoption'
Director Curtis Kaltenbaugh examines the life that he and his brother Ashok led as children who were removed from their Ojibwe mother in Manitoba and adopted by a white pastor and his family in Pennsylvania. At 30, he makes the bold decision to unite the two families and cultures for the first time.
The centerpiece film finds two strangers staying in a Toronto home, one interviewing Native elders for a collective art series, the other being interviewed by TV producers who want to take advantage of his Native status for funding. They bond over their struggle to embody their heritage.
'Water Flowing Together'
The closing film follows ballet great, Jock Soto, from his early roots on a remote Arizona reservation through a career filled with triumphant performances to his emotional retirement from the New York City Ballet at age 40 in 2005.
In its West Coast premiere, director Bennie Klain captures the intricate relationship between Navajo rug weavers, reservation traders and the balance between maintaining cultural traditions, economic survival and artistic validation.