February 02, 2010


Shimásání is a 15-minute Navajo film that's playing at Sundance. Here's some background:

Sound Lounge-Mixed Short Screened At Tribeca

Trust Collective May 4th, 2009Shimasani, a hauntingly beautiful short mixed in Sound Lounge’s studios, recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Ryan Price mixed the final audio of the beautiful film by Director Blackhorse Lowe.

Shimasani is set in the late 1920s on the serene Navajo reservation surrounded by massive vistas trailing off to distant foothills. A young woman named Mary Jane spends her time daydreaming and tending to her family’s flock of sheep. When her older sister returns from boarding school with a world geography book, she reveals new worlds that are “just over the mountain.” Conflicted by her obedient nature and her curious imagination, Mary Jane must privately decide to either maintain her lifestyle or depart into the exotic unknown.

Price notes, “In a piece as minimalistic as Shimasani--with no music and little dialogue--I focused all my attention on the sound design. A major character was the wind, Blackhorse and I went back a forth a few times with options, in the end I think the soundtrack complements the cinematography and really brings the audience to where the director wants them to be.”

“In a film as short as this one, each element takes on special importance, and the soundtrack is certainly no exception,” stated Partner/Sound Designer Marshall Grupp. “Ryan nailed it perfectly, setting the tone for this wonderful little story.”
Comment:  Check out the trailer at the official site. Unlike most short films--even most short Native films--Shimásání has an impressive look and feel. It looks like a window into the 1920s Navajoland--but of course it's a recreation.

Shimásání is another film co-produced by Heather Rae. Just from the trailer, you get a sense of an authentic Navajo filmmaker, actors, and landscape. Would it be the same if a non-Native made it with actors with a "bit" of Native ancestry? No.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

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