Phoenix—It seemed fitting to include a couple of Native American comedians in the mix of lead actors in the upcoming sure to be a hit film “More Than Frybread.” It’s a comedy after all about a frybread contest. Theresa Choyguha, Tohono O’odham, and James Bilagody, Navajo, crack jokes during the film’s first promotional shoot and news conference in Phoenix. “So who makes the best frybread?” asked a reporter. “The Navajos of course,” said Bilagody with a big smile. Choyguha, standing nearby, vigorously but quietly shook her head no and waited for her chance to speak.
Still in production, the “indie” movie is Holt Hamilton’s fourth feature film. Two of his last films, “Turquoise Rose” and “Blue Gap Boy’z,” are already on store shelves.
The film tells the fictional story of the First Annual Arizona State Frybread Championship competition held between the 22 tribes in Arizona. The 22 Nations each send a finalist to represent their tribe and compete for the coveted title of Arizona State Frybread Champion. The film closely follows five female and male frybread makers from the Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai- Apache, Hualapai, and Tohono O odham Nations as they journey from their various reservations to the state championship in Flagstaff.
“It’s all about bragging right in this one. Who really does make the best bread,” said Hamilton. This will be the first feature film to include such a diverse variety of Native American actors from Arizona, California and New Mexico.
“We held auditions for many months way out in a lot of middle-of-no-wheres across the state and found some amazing talented and undiscovered actors that only needed a chance to shine. This is their chance. There will be stars born from this film,” said Hamilton. Recognizing a small Native talent pool in Hollywood, he wanted to help increase that pool with new faces by an opportunity to many who may never have another chance like this. “This is the heart and life blood of indie film making. Everyone has to take a step up and play a bigger role, me included.”
The film will include forty-two speaking parts, nine of which include lead roles. Actors include Tatanka Means (Navajo/Oglala Lakota), Joe Washington, (Choctaw/Shawnee), Teresa Choyguha (Tohono O’odham), Camille Nighthorse (Hualapai), Jennifer Joseph (Hopi), James Bilagody (Navajo), Tawnya Gomez (Arapaho), Dey Gomez (Arapaho), Mary Kim Titla (San Carlos Apache) and Willis Daychild, (Hualapai).
Three actors bring some feature experience to the table. Two of those, Means and Nighthorse, will be playing their first lead roles in a feature. The third is Bilagody who played a role in Blue Gap Boy’z. “It’s exciting to think of all the resumes that will have grown from this film,” said Hamilton.
Production will be released later this year. Contact: Holt Hamilton, email: email@example.com://www.hhprod.com
I am interested in this story for an upcoming A&E section. Word range of 700-800. Deadline is Friday, June 18.
If you are interested in this story please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org [subject : Film about statewide frybread contest now in production]