"American Indian Film Festival": Shorts, Pilots, and 'Star Wars' in Navajo

Showcasing the best in Native American cinema from the Bay Area and elsewhere, the 38th Annual American Indian Film Festival kicks off with an appropriate bang in the form of Loretta Todd's Skye & Chang, a 2012 television pilot for the Aboriginal People's Television Network. Described without hyperbole as "a female-buddy martial-arts sci-fi mash-up with awesome Aboriginal superpowers," Skye & Chang is only 45 minutes long, but it's more entertaining than many movies twice that length, and it'll leave you hoping it goes to a series. It plays in double feature with Norry Niven's feature- length drama Chasing Shakespeare, starring native San Franciscan Danny Glover as an Arkansas man recounting his life with his dying wife, a member of a mystical American Indian clan. Another fest highlight is Bill Matson's documentary Sitting Bull's Voice, about how the grandson of the famous Lakota leader overcame his own personal demons to become worthy of speaking for his legendary grandfather. And then there's Wednesday's sure-to-be-legendary screening of Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, newly translated (with Lucasfilm's permission) into the Navajo language. As if it weren't odd enough that Star Wars has not already been translated into Navajo, it's actually the first major motion picture to be translated into any American Indian language — and this is a good place to start.

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