Five very interesting and very Alaskan documentaries have recently been acquired to air on 360 North. They are all the work of long-time filmmaker Curt Madison of River Tracks Productions.
Four of the programs look deeply into Alaska Native culture and will be important contributions to the planned weekly block of Native programming. The fifth documentary, on mining, is a unique history offering.
Hitting Sticks, Healing Hearts - This documentary was produced at the request of village elders. It provides an in-depth, insiders view of an Athabaskan memorial potlatch. It aired on public television in Alaska and was used as part of the Death, A Trip of a Lifetime series produced by KCTS, Seattle.
Songs in Minto Life - Like 'Hitting Sticks,' the setting is the Athabaskan Indian village of Minto. This film is about music and the way it weaves through every aspect of life.
Tanana River Rat - This program is a vibrant drama of contemporary life in Interior Alaska. Brothers separated by the political realities of Alaska after the 1991 Native land claims are forced together on the river when a cousin drowns. The family and village come together as they always have in times of crisis.
Huteetl: A Koyukon Memorial Potlatch - Considered a valuable anthropological document, this video looks at the final death rites of a young couple who died in a small airplane crash. More than 200 people joined the 100 residents of Hughes for the week-long celebration releasing the deceased spirit from a year of wandering.
Bedrock Pay - This project gives viewers insight into some of the characters and the lifestyle of gold mining in the historic Manley and Eureka districts of the Interior.
Each of these "truly Alaskan" programs has won numerous awards and been recognized in North America and throughout the world.