The ride over the Rockies had been a bit bumpy, but it did not diminish my excitement to be in the craggy nucleus of Colorado for the Crested Butte Film Festival. Surrounded by mountains that push up through the ground like gargantuan knuckles dusted in green and gold, Crested Butte is a quiet mining town turn ski haven that has been secretly brewing up one of the best small film festivals in the United States.
As former President Barack Obama says at the end, "history doesn't follow a straight line. It zigs and zags. But the trend lines will ultimately be towards a less violent, more empathetic, more generous world." And so we hope. Need a good dose of humanitarianism, hope, and idealism? Come see this film.
As a friend recalls, Beckey "had to leave a few burning bridges behind to live the lifestyle he wanted to live." Remember that a "dirtbag" is someone who is committed to a given (usually extreme) activity to the point of abandoning employment and other societal norms in order to pursue said lifestyle. It's the lifestyle that finds us unshowered and sunburnt, with ratty hair and unwashed clothes, yet doing exactly what we want, when we want, how we want.
Sami Blood, set in 1930s Sweden, depicts the challenges of the indigenous Sámi people rubbing up against the dominant Swedish culture. Teenage sisters Elle-Marja and Njenna are taken from their reindeer-breeding family and sent to a Sámi-only boarding school where they are subjected to locals’ taunts and the indignities of race-based physical examinations. While the younger Njenna clings to her cultural traditions, Elle-Marja realizes how deeply she is judged as inferior by the majority Swedes. Being bright and curious (and also attracted to handsome Swedish teens) she rejects her Sámi heritage and stakes out a future of her own. The story is told in one large flashback as the elderly Elle-Marja (who even changes her name to the Swedish, Christina) looks back on her life and the weight of her choices.
The new woman, the hero of the story, answers the phone and makes appointments. Then there is a lull. A disheveled, older white kid walks in, with a black backpack, and after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you go, "No. Not about this..." And your heart freezes or breaks, maybe cracks like ice. And sure enough the kid fumbles around in his backpack, you hear metal clinking against metal, and he pulls out a semi-automatic rifle, maybe even an AR-15, and you go, "How can I be watching this?!" Well, the sad truth is, this has become such a common occurrence in America, that it is now showing up in our films. Even our short films. Even our Oscar Nominated Short films. Such is the crisis.