FOR THE GENERATIONS: NATIVE STORY & PERFORMANCE to Premiere
Posted October 21, 2009
Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with Painted Sky proudly announces the local premiere of a new Performing Arts documentary, FOR THE GENERATIONS: NATIVE STORY & PERFORMANCE on OPB at 10:30pm on Wednesday, November 25th.
Artists profiled in the documentary include pop-diva, "Urban Indian," Jana Mashonee; classically trained ballet dancers Michael Greyeyes and Santee Smith, Grammy winners Robert Mirabal and Bill Miller, funky R&B songstress Martha Redbone, Painted Sky's own Northstar dancers and a host of others.
"You will be surprised by these performers," said OPB’s Sean Hutchinson who produced the documentary. "Though they all weave their tribal heritage in and out of their music and dance, their performances have appeal that extends beyond what might be too easily classified as ‘Native-American' music."
Part performance, part behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, the documentary profiles the personal stories of the artists in their own words -- weaving a narrative through the performances that lends grit and personality to the beautiful artistry showcased.
The documentary travels to locations across the country and in Canada to capture the artists' performances. FOR THE GENERATIONS will be released to a national audience of public broadcasting affiliates in Spring of 2010.
"Thanks to OPB and the other sponsors for providing an opportunity for a national audience to experience Native music, while getting a glimpse of the life and times of our artists," said Arlie Neskahi co-president of Painted Sky Incorporated, Navajo Nation.
Much of the focus of the documentary centers on the outreach these performers do and their work with native youth. "A person like Jana really shines a light on a pathway to success and presents a model for kids by which they might become an artist or doctor or astronaut -- whatever they can conceive for themselves -- and not be daunted by some bleak odds," Hutchinson said. An examination of those challenges facing American Indians on and off the reservation include health and fitness issues such as diabetes, alcoholism and suicide.
Artist Bill Miller reveals the healing that music has brought to his life as he returns to his alma mater at University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to debut his latest release. "I’ve been through so much trauma in my life, I need to move on too. And I took this music, not knowing where it would go, but now I see the affect. It's a very healing piece of music."
A grant from the Spirit Mountain Community fund, in part, has made the documentary possible. "As a tribal foundation, it is an honor to partner with Painted Sky and other funders to promote Native American arts and culture. As a terminated tribe, we know the value of honoring our culture to perpetuate our tribal history," said Fund Director Shelley Hanson. Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council provided additional funding.
The program will air again on OPB on Sunday, November 29 at 1pm.
Additional support was provided by: University of Oregon; Portland State University's Native American and Student and Community Center; Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; Native American Youth & Family Center; Native American Music Awards and the American Indian College Fund. The City of Portland and the State of Oregon have also endorsed the project.
OPB is the state's most far-reaching and accessible media resource, providing free access to programming for children and adults designed to give voice to community, connect Oregon and its neighbors and illuminate a wider world. Every week, over 1.5 million people tune in to or log on to OPB's Television, Radio and Internet delivered services. As the hub of operations for the state's Emergency Broadcast and Amber Alert services, OPB serves as the backbone for the distribution of critical information to broadcasters and homes throughout Oregon. OPB is one of the largest producers and presenters of national television programming through PBS, and is also a member station of NPR, Public Radio International (PRI), and American Public Media (APM). The OPB Web site is opb.org.