In director Sydney Freeland’s debut hit, Drunktown’s Finest, audiences are introduced to three Navajo characters, each of whom is facing their own challenges and coming to terms with life on the Navajo reservation.
Nizhoni is an adopted Navajo girl played by actress Morningstar Angeline, who was raised Christian by white parents. Desperate to uncover her past and retrace her connection to the Navajo culture, Nizhoni begins seeking answers from residents of the reservation. Discovering her birth parents died in a drunk driving accident, she begins volunteering on the reservation, speaking with the locals about who here parents were and where she comes from.
Luther “Sick Boy” Maryboy, played by Jeremiah Bitsui, fresh off his popular role in Breaking Bad, is a rebellious young man and father-to-be. A recent Army recruit, Sick Boy is attempting to stay out of trouble in his final days before leaving to serve his country. However, old habits die hard, as Sick Boy stumbles into the same flaws and challenges that have plagued his past.
Felixia, played by trans actress Carmen Moore, is a transgendered Navajo who was recently accepted to a casting call for the Miss Navajo calendar. She attends the casting call, only to discover a former schoolmate, who lets out the secret of her previous gender. Growing depressed, Felixia falls into her promiscuous ways and ultimately decides to leave New Mexico for New York, until a touching conversation with her grandmother.
“Freeland does a fine job, waiting for her characters to converge in a way that doesn’t feel overly forced, though there is a bit of that “Crash” tidiness in how things fall together. Still, the film is moving and human.”
— Randy Cordova, Arizona Central
“Drunktown’s Finest shouldn’t be viewed simply as an anthropological curiosity, though, but as the promising debut of a gifted filmmaker who wants to show the beating and hurting hearts of the people behind the headlines.”
— Inkoo Kang, TheWrap
Did You Know?
When selecting the cast for Drunktown’s Finest, director Sydney Freeland, who is Navajo herself, was careful to choose as many Native actors as possible. All but 4 of the 36 roles in the film went to Native actors, with half of those going to Navajo actors specifically, including Morningstar Angeline, who plays Nizhoni. Freeland also selected Carmen Moore, a Diné actress and true transsexual to take on the role of Felixia. Review our Gay Themed Films Here