The JUMP Society in partnership with the Gold Town Theater has been honored with a Science on Screen grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Coolidge Corner Theater. These grants are given annually to about three dozen independent art-house theaters across the United States in an effort to promote good films and scientific ideas. The idea is simple: curate a short series of films, and pair them up with a related science-based talk by an expert in the field.
For this season, we have put together a series of films designed to cover as wide and varied a span of genres, time periods, and experience as possible, with speakers who will cover subjects like parasitic organisms, time travel, post-apocalyptic survival, and the regeneration of fading indigenous languages. Our films will include Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Monthy Python & The Holy Grail, The Fountain, and our premier event in the series…
SGaawaay K’uuna (EDGE OF THE KNIFE)
We are thrilled to be screening this new film from Pacific Northwest Canada, the first ever to be performed entirely in the Haida language–a tongue so endangered, with less than 20 fluent speakers, that a dialect coach was needed on set. Arriving more than a century after British Columbia’s first-ever feature film, In the Land of the Head Hunters — Edward S. Curtis’ controversial but undeniably fascinating portrait of the Kwakwaka’wakw people of northern Vancouver Island — Edge of the Knife is the first feature film to tell a story about the Kwakwaka’wakw’s neighbours, the Haida.
Whereas Curtis remained an outside observer, transfixed by the Kwakwaka’wakw’s masks and regalia, Edge of the Knife has a genuine Indigenous eye. Part drama, part historical reclamation, First Nations filmmakers Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown’s film is set during the 19th century. Inspired by the Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid wildman of Haida mythology, the film charts a simple narrative about a reckless uncle who can’t bear the guilt of having unwittingly led a beloved nephew to his demise, and whose abnegation takes on a horrific physical form over a winter of self-imposed exile in the wild. Both visceral and austere, yet with unexpected dashes of comedy and melodrama, Edge of the Knife may be a significant landmark in the short history of Canadian Indigenous film.
Among other fine Alaskan Native and Canadian First Nations actors, the film co-stars Delores Churchill, who will be here in person on Saturday, March 31 with a screening of her film, Tracing Roots, which we will have more information about in Friday’s email. (but there’s a brief summary below)
Our film will be paired with a talk led by local Tlingit language educator Vivian Yéilk’ Mork. Vivian was born in Wrangell, Alaska but her clan is from Hoonah. She is Tlingit from the T’akdeintáan clan, Snail House. Her Tlingit name is Yéilk’, Cute-Little-Raven. Vivian has an MA in Cross Cultural Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, and a certification from Rutgers in Biological Plant Analyzation. She is also a writer, artist, carver, storyteller, and traditional foods specialist.
The Science on Screen events are free and open to the public. They will sponsor a second screening on Sunday, March 31, but without the introductory talk by Vivian Mork. The other screenings are at regular movie ticket prices.
SGaawaay K’uuna–EDGE OF THE KNIFE–Showtimes
Tue. March 26 — Science on Screen talk by Vivian Mork at 6pm;
Movie screening at 7pm — FREE SCREENING
Thur. March 28 at 7pm
Fri. March 29 at 5pm, 7pm, & 9pm
Sat. March 30 at 4:30pm, 7pm, & 9pm
Sun. March 31 at 2pm–FREE SCREENING