Here's one of the films you haven't seen at Sundance Film Festival: "Trespassing"
by Brazilian filmmaker Carlos DeMenezes.
This highly-censored film (by yes, all those cool avant-garde film festivals) reveals how
members of the Mohave and Colorado River Indian Tribes, with the help of the American Indian Movement and environmentalists,
halted the proposed hazardous waste dump at Ward Valley. The long occupation is shown in the film, along with Western Shoshone
protesting nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.
The Tucson International Film Festival featured the film and awarded "Trespassing," a rare
Trustee Award. Although the film won top awards at a festival in Spain, and the Indigenous film festival in Oaxaca, DeMenezes
said the film has been rejected at most festivals around the world.
Sundance rejected it twice.
Sundance, like the other hip film festivals, responded that it receives a real big number
of films each year and sadly has to reject many.
OK, but I've been to Sundance. Sadly, most of the films were a chore to watch -- either there
was no story or the films were just too depressing to endure.
The last year I went, I was miserable. There was the long drive to the Salt Lake City Motel
6, because everything in Park City, as always, was booked up and overpriced.Then, as always, there was falling on the ice,
and limping around, after driving around for hours looking for a park in Park City.
Each year, even with a big fat Sundance press pass, it has been impossible to get tickets
to actually see the movies I need to review for American Indian newspapers.
So, no kidding, the last time I went, I checked out video copies of the Native films and sat
in a little dark room in the Park City library and watched all the movies I needed to review.
After throwing up on rich, free finger food at one of the gatherings, and watching a few Hollywood
gods glorified, I slid back to the dirty Motel 6 in Salt Lake City, and then slid back down the icy roads to Arizona. My
last trip to Sundance was right up there with the worst experiences of my life.
Back to the rejections of "Trespassing."
There's many good films coming out on American Indian sacred lands, resistance movements and desecration
from mining. Hopefully, you'll be seeing these at Sundance.