Taos Fest Fetes "Smoke Signals"
by Mark Rabinowitz
The Native American film community is going to take back America “five
acres at a time,” said actor Gary Farmer, as the film in which he
starred, “Smoke Signals,” won the Taos Land Grant Award at the
conclusion of the 1998 Taos Talking Pictures Festival (TTPF). The award,
consisting of five acres of land on the top of a mesa with a view of the
Rio Grande Gorge, is to “recognize a talented, passionate and innovative
filmmaker who uses his or her talents to tell powerful, socially
relevant stories,” according to a statement from the festival. “Smoke
Signals” was directed by Chris Eyre, and written by Sherman Alexie from
his book “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” “Signals” also
starred Tantoo Cardinale and Adam Beach.
indieWIRE spoke to TTPF Director of Programming Kelly Clement who
indicated that he was “extremely happy with the way (the festival)
went.” He continued, adding, “We had a great group of films and the
festival ran as smoothly as it has ever gone.” While this is only the
fourth year of the festival, Clement indicated that it was “getting
easier” to put the event on.
The second award of the festival was the George Melies Cinematography
Award for the film “Nude Decending, My House is on Fire,” given to Riad
Galayini. The award recognizes excellence in cinematography in shorts,
and includes $10,000 worth of goods and services from Kodak, Allied‘s
New Independent Labs and Hollywood Rentals.
The five acres of land is part of a large tract of land being bought by
private individuals, and while the plots are rustic, to say the least,
there are plans to develop the area. Besides “Smoke Signals,” the other
two finalists for the Land Grant Award were Clement Virgo for “The
Planet of Junior Brown” and Juliane Glantz for “Wilbur Falls.”