Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Powerlines' Dine' authentic filmmaking on Navajoland

By Censored News

Dine' filmmaker Klee Benally and cast are now shooting the movie Powerlines on the Navajo Nation. Klee said of the photo above, Day 5 of filmmaking in Cameron, "Special thanks to my sis Michelle Babbitt and family for use of the awesome location."
Klee Benally: "Awesome folks who are acting in my feature length Powerlines movie! Tony, Nezbahe, Kayla, and Belinda!

Power Lines is a politically charged coming of age story about a young Diné (Navajo) poet who runs away and finds home.

Produced by Indigenous Action Media in association with Outta Your Backpack Media.

En Français:

Halee is a 16 year old Diné (Navajo) relocation refugee who uses fierce poetry to escape from her painful past and present.
When Halee's abusive father crosses a line, her best friend helps her runaway. Their journey to Halee’s homeland takes a turn when she discovers her father has been hiding a secret that has the power to change Halee’s life forever. 
Bring this independent feature film to the screen by supporting our crowdfunding campaign!
A bit about me and background of the story:
I was born into the midst of a political land conflict created by corporate  interests to access coal beneath my family's homelands on Black Mesa, AZ.
In 1974 U.S. Congress passed PL93-531, also known as the “Relocation Act,” forcing more than 20,000 Diné (Navajo) from our homelands.

For 20 years I toured internationally with the award winning band Blackfire, aBlackfirepolitical punk-rock group that I founded with my brother and sister.
We started Blackfire as a creative means to transform our own anger that came from witnessing our family being torn apart by forced relocation. We used music as a tool for social change. I see this film as an extension of that work.

As a volunteer with Indigenous Action Media since 2001, I’ve directed political documentaries including the award winning feature documentary “The Snowbowl Effect.” I’ve also produced short narrative films, music videos, and mentored withOutta Your Backpack Media (OYBM), an Indigenous youth project I helped found in 2004 and continue to volunteer with today. In all I’ve helped produce more than 60 short films through OYBM.

The impacts of forced relocation and coal mining at Black Mesa, including historical trauma and colonialism, have not been addressed in a feature narrative before. I intend for this project to have a deep and lasting impact on Indigenous youth affected by this crisis, and on a much broader audience.
More about the story concept: 
I began working on the concept for Power Lines in 2008. I felt that a fictional narrative would allow me the most creative freedom to address the issues from a unique perspective. I also believe that independent film can further inspire cultures of resistance and liberation.
The script was completed a year ago and has been in a series of revisions with a range of Indigenous activists and storytellers.
This story is ready to be told, now I just need your help in getting it to the screen.

Donate to Powerlines, authentic Dine' filmmaking at

No comments: