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Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #30: Sydney Freeland Depicts a More Meaningful Side to Her Hometown in ‘Drunktown’s Finest’

Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #30: Sydney Freeland Depicts a More Meaningful Side to Her Hometown in 'Drunktown's Finest'

The lives of three youths on an Indian reservation are brought to light and deeply explored in “Drunktown’s Finest,” an unflinching drama written and directed by Sydney Freeland about the common struggles of a trio of Native Americans in Gallup, New Mexico who have very different lifestyles.

What It’s About: Three young Native Americans – an adopted Christian girl, a rebellious
father-to-be, and a promiscuous transsexual, strive to escape the
hardships of life on an Indian reservation.

So What It’s Really About: It’s a story about people trying to escape their small town in the hopes for a
better life.

Tell us briefly about yourself. What’s your background? I am Navajo and Scottish, born and raised on the Navajo
reservation in New Mexico. I have a BFA in computer animation and an MFA
in Film. I’ve been living and working in LA for most of the past 7
years.

What cameras did you shoot on? Our ‘A’ Camera was the Alexa. However, our B-roll came to us on a
whole bunch of different cameras- Red Epic, Canon 5D and 7D, Go-Pros,
and even an iPhone.

What was the biggest challenge in completing this film? Getting funding for the film.

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform. If not, why?

Yes. We did a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for post-production.

What do you want your Sundance audience to take away from your film? I hope I am able to give audiences a glimpse into a world they aren’t familiar with.

Have any films inspired you? Well, my safe answer is “Casablanca”. But other films that come
to mind are “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert
Ford,” “Zodiac,” “Shaun of the Dead,” and “Inglourious Basterds”.

What’s next for you? I have a sci-fi time travel feature script that I’m working on.
It’s pretty much a 180 degrees from “Drunktown” and I’m excited to start working
on it.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us
about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they
faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses
leading up to the 2014 festival.
For profiles, click HERE.

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