The 2014 Sundance hit, Drunktown’s Finest, presents three unique stories of young Navajo people, played by Morningstar Angeline, Jeremiah Bitsui, and Carmen Moore, as each struggles with life on the reservation. Each character’s story unfolds, carefully weaving together a coming of age story where purpose and identity is revealed.
One of the best films to come out of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, director Sydney Freeland’s Drunktown’s Finest is a touching coming of age tale involving life on an Indian reservation. A feature debut for Freeland, the director carefully constructs a story that avoids many of the stigmas and stereotypes of Native life, yet still portrays the real challenges Native people face.
“I was born and raised on the reservation, and I never really saw people I know represented on screen,” says Freeland. “When I was in elementary school, the ABC show ‘20/20’ came to my town with a huge TV crew and did this feature on the alcoholism in our border town, calling it Drunktown. But it only showed the drunks, not the real people. Fast forward 20 years later and I thought, ‘what if there was a way to take this idea and show it in a different light.’”