Posted - 02/23/2006 : 10:37:51 AM
| First Feature Film To Feature All Navajo People Playing Navajos
Posted by Mary Kim Titla
Wed, 08-Feb-2006 12:36 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arizona Production Company to Make Feature Film About The Navajo People
First Feature Film to feature all Navajo People playing Navajos
Phoenix, Arizona--A production company based in Mesa, Arizona, Holt Hamilton Productions, LLC is producing a feature length film aimed at the Native American Community. The film, entitled Turquoise Rose, is a coming of age story of a Navajo girl named Turquoise Rose. The story follows Turquoise, a photojournalism major at the state university as she begrudgingly forgoes a trip to Europe with her friends to return to the Reservation and take care of her ailing grandmother. Through this experience however, Turquoise comes to understand and appreciate her heritage and ancestry better. She strengthens her relationship with her grandmother, falls in love, and has many experiences that she otherwise would not have had.
“It was important to me to make a movie about the Navajo people, because I want people to see them the way I see them,” says Holt Hamilton, the writer, producer and director of the film. Hamilton, who lived on the Navajo Reservation for two years, goes on to say, “there have been very few pictures made that are aimed specifically at this audience, they are hungry for a positive story and movie about their people.”
This fact is evidenced by the outpouring of support from the Navajo Community. Hamilton has received letters of support and encouragement from Fra nk Dayish, Jr, Vice President of the Navajo Nation, as well as invitations to speak on the Reservation, and numerous articles written about the project.
All Navajos playing Navajo roles
Hamilton and Associate Producer, Jake Johnson held auditions in Phoenix and on the Navajo Nation in the summer of 2005, with the goal of casting not only all Native Americans to play Native American roles, but to make a cinematic first of casting all Navajo people in Navajo roles. “At the auditions, everyone kept asking us, ‘who is the star of this movie’, and we told them, ‘that is why we are here, to find the stars,’” said J. Johnson.
And find the stars they did. “We were really impressed with the talent that we saw at the auditions” said Hamilton.&nbs p; Eventually they selected Natasha Kaye Johnson to play the role of Turquoise, and Deshava Apachee to play the role of Harry Bahe, the love interest of Turquoise. “Natasha and Deshava just clicked, there was a chemistry between them that was perfect for the story,” said J. Johnson. It was amazing to see these characters, nearly exactly how we pictured them as we were developing them in the story, it was clear that we had found our two main actors” added Hamilton.
Written during Operation Iraqi Freedom
Hamilton had long wanted to make a movie about the Navajo people, and while stationed in Kuwait with his Army Reserve Unit, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Hamilton g ot the chance to begin. “We had a lot of downtime, there was a lot of waiting around,” said Hamilton. “I was frustrated because I had been pulled out of film school, and felt like I was just wasting time sitting around, so I began exploring the idea for a story,” continues Hamilton. He goes on to say, “Two female soldiers in my unit, one of whom was Navajo; it was the two of them who really supplied me with the idea of Turquoise.”
In these long, hot and dusty days, Hamilton completed a few drafts of the story. When he returned to the states, he shared it with Johnson. In collaboration between the two of them over several months, the story was refined and the script written. While the story is fic titious, it was important to both Hamilton and Johnson for it to be completely authentic and real. To ensure that the story remained continually anchored in truth and that in particular it accurately represented Navajo culture, the team consulted with Mr. Julius Tulley. Tulley who was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Blue Gap, Arizona will serve as Technical Advisor for the picture. Regarding Tulley, Hamilton said, “His expertise in the language and culture has helped to bring an authentic portrayal of the Dine’ into the production of Turquoise Rose. His genuine sensitivity to his homeland and Nation make his contribution to this film invaluable and necessary.”
Turquoise Rose is scheduled to begin shoo ting in April 2006. The production budget for the film is very modest, the bulk of which the production company is raising through donations and a few investors. “While this is a picture specifically about a Navajo woman, it is a story that anyone can identify with,” said Executive Producer Brendon Lundberg. “Everyone has to come to a point in their life when they take the things they have been taught and how they’ve been raised, look at who they want to become, and then somehow reconcile those things to become the person that they ultimately are,” continues Lundberg. “It is that reason that this story will have appeal and will find success beyond the Navajo Nation, or beyond the Native American Community in general. Regardless of who we are, we all face similar experiences,” concluded Lundberg.
The film’s website, www.turquoiserosethemovie.com has more information on how those interested can get involved, from donation opportunities, to promoting the film.
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For more information on Turquoise Rose, please visit www.turquoiserosethemovie.com.
Holt Hamilton Productions LLC is a private-held Film and Video Production Company, with an emphasis on documentary and narrative filmmaking, based in Mesa, AZ. Other productions of Holt Hamilton include Rez Dogs, Sending the Signal, Chasing Wings and several others. For more information on the company please visit www.hhprod.com.
Edited by - Tachiinii on 02/23/2006 11:13:52 AM