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SF Chronicle: ‘Johnny Tootall,’ ‘Trudell,’ ‘Hank Williams First Nation’ take Indian festival awards

SF Chronicle: 'Johnny Tootall,' 'Trudell,' 'Hank Williams First Nation' take Indian festival awards

When the 30th edition of San Francisco’s American Indian Film Festival ended last week, it evoked emotions as mixed as the many tribes it focuses on. “It was uplifting, but there was also anger along with joy, sadness and most importantly, pride,” said Michael Smith, president and founder of the festival, which moved to San Francisco in 1977 after two years in Seattle. Best film went to “Johnny Tootall,” directed by Shirley Cheechoo, about a confused Bosnian War veteran returning home to face the new battle of becoming chief of the band. Aaron James Sorensen won the best director award for his film “Hank Williams First Nation,” a contemporary look at life on a remote reservation in the north of Canada. The sleeper of the festival may have been “Trudell,” which took the best documentary feature award (directed by Heather Rae. Delfin Vigil reports.

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