March 08, 2011

Grab at Sundance

Native enjoys film success on festival circuit

By Bernie DotsonBilly Luther, 35, who directed “Grab,” said he grew up without seeing any images of Native Americans on television or the bid screen. Luther is part Navajo, Hopi and Laguna and has family members who live in Forest Lake, a small community west of Chinle, Ariz., on the vast Navajo reservation.

“A lot of artists create from struggle, pain or suffering. Not me. The film is about the ‘grab day’ celebration that happens year-round in pueblo communities,” Luther explained just prior to a screening. “My documentary explores the Laguna Pueblo community. The film follows three families as they live and work around their community, preparing for this event.”

“Grab” is Luther’s second independent film to premiere at Sundance.

The film graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., debuted “Miss Navajo” in 2007 at the festival. Luther said “Miss Navajo” was inspired by his mother’s life growing up during the 1960s. Luther’s mother, Sarah Ann Johnson Luther, was Miss Navajo from 1966-67.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Cave at Sundance and Wapawekka at Sundance.

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