“Drunktown’s Finest” screened earlier tonight in the Kimo Theater at Albuquerque, N.M. at 8 p.m.(June 4, 2014). There was a packed theater audience. The “Albuquerque film & media experience” (AFME) runs June 1-8. Morningstar Angeline who portrays “Nizhoni” in the movie, read a welcome message from director Sydney Freeland. She couldn’t attend tonight’s screening.
Roscoe Pond filled out a ballot after the screening & voted “Drunktown’s Finest” for the audience award at AFME. The audience favorite will be announced at the awards dinner on Sunday June 8, in the Hotel Cascada at 6 p.m.
“Drunktown’s Finest” follows three stories within a Navajo Indian community. Each story interweaves with one another by circumstance before a Navajo girl’s traditional ceremony to become a woman. “Sickboy” (Jeremiah Bitsui), “Nizhoni” (Morning Star Wilson) & “Flexia” (Carmen Moore) desperately want to get out of a place that holds them back from their lives & their dreams.
Sickboy is an irresponsible young man whose girlfriend is pregnant. He abuses alcohol, does drugs & fights the tribal police. All of which happens before he goes into the army. Nizhoni is heading to college who was adopted by a white couple. She is told to stay away from the Navajo, but has a dream about a horse who has painted hands on its’ body. She draws that image in her journal & suffers from insomnia.
Flexia is a transsexual who turns tricks by meeting men on “Facebook.” She wants to be a model. She is seen with Navajo males who are in the closet about their sexuality. She knows who she is, but sees that the men she services are all ashamed of themselves. Society turns away from Flexia & her best friend Eugene (Wambli Eagleman) who is beaten up for being gay. They look out for each other because they know they are outsiders. Eugene is free & open who always has a funny line to speak.
Sickboy was released from jail after hitting a cop. His recruiter tells him to keep sober before he enters army basic training. But, he beats up his mother’s white boyfriend who abuses his son. Sickboy goes to jail again & loses his chance to get off the Navajo Reservation. Nizhoni seeks out her biological Navajo parents. One night she witnesses an image of a real horse killed, who has bloody hand prints on its’ body. She is awakened by her Navajo spirit culture. Flexia is humiliated after a photographer sees that she is a transsexual.
They are all trapped by the choices they make which is good & bad. Sickboy is an angry young man who is forced to see his responsibilities. Nizhoni realizes that her white parents deceived her so she could have a better life. She makes the choice to know her Navajo grandparents who have been looking for her. Flexia has a chance to meet a rich male lawyer in New York. Her grandfather says that she would always have a home to come back to.
All three meet up at the ceremony of the Navajo teen girl who becomes a woman. Their lives aren’t what they want it to be, but it’s enough to know that they come from a strong Navajo tribal heritage.
“Drunktown’s Finest” had a strong supporting cast which includes Kenneth Ruthardt (Elmer), Rulan Tangen (Sheila), Ernest Tsosie (Copenhagen), James Junes (Leroy Leroy), Shauna Baker (Karah) & Elizabeth Frances (Angela Maryboy).