September 12, 2009

Norman Patrick Brown's Rainbow Boy

Doing it the Diné way

Filmmaker insists on Native actors, cultural accuracy

By Cindy Yurth
Norman Patrick Brown believes there's only one way to make a movie about Navajos: with a Navajo cast, crew and director, in the Navajo language.

The Gallup filmmaker realizes this is not the way to reach a mass audience. It is certainly not the way to get rich.

"I'm not going after Hollywood," he said in a recent interview over coffee at the Thunderbird Lodge in his native Chinle. "My audience is my elders. If I can make Grandma smile, it's worth it to me."
And:Brown's current project, co-produced with Jenny Pond's 220 Productions, represents a "whole new direction" for the director/writer/producer and his company, Rezwood Entertainment.

"Rainbow Boy" came to Brown fully formed while he was meditating. It's a mystical allegory about an ancient warrior who turns up in modern Gallup.

"It takes a man who came from the past to see what we've lost," Brown explained. "He sees the sadness in the eyes of our people, the destruction of the land, but most importantly, that we don't call ourselves 'Holy Earth Surface People' anymore, just 'The People.'"
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  Leland Grass as Eagle Catcher and Reggie Mitchell as Haske Dziil in Norman Patrick Brown's film Rainbow Boy. (Special to the Times--Donovan Quintero)

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