Dodging Bullets teams up with theater director and playwright Rhiana Yazzie for youth segment


Filming Youth about being Native American Filming Youth about being Native American

In early February our production crew for Dodging Bullets teamed up with theater director and playwright Rhiana Yazzie to film a group of young Native American students discussing their perspective on what it’s like being Native American in 2015.  Rhiana Yazzie is a Navajo playwright, director, performer, and producer based in the Twin Cities.  She is a two time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow, the creator of the Twin Cities theater company New Native Theater, and even an award winning radio/audio theater writer and director.  Having her direct this segment of our film was an honor, she was able to bring something together for our documentary that it seemed to be lacking, and that was the hopeful innocence of young people.  Sitting down for six hours with this group of extremely bright and intelligent kids, giving them the spotlight, and letting them tell us their thoughts and their hopes, was something that left me feeling like the world will soon be in good hands.

Making a documentary like Dodging Bullets, brings us into the lives many different people’s personal experiences, not all of which are good. As a film crew we need to be able to separate ourselves from the harshness of these realities, and sometimes it is more difficult than others.  I have often been left with these bleak thoughts that we may somehow be too far-gone to right some of our histories wrongs.  But then we get to experience this, nine young boys and girls who are the next generation, who will be able to make changes and move us in a better direction, and they are still full of hope and pride in who they are and their heritage.  The future is bright, there is much that is wrong in the world today and it can sometimes be easy to get lost in that darkness.  We need to remember that hopeful innocence of the coming generations, we need to teach them and raise them with pride.  We must give them the opportunity to change our world, these are the people who can break the cycle of Historical Trauma.

behind-scences-with-crew-rhiana-yazzie Behind the scences with Dodging Bullets crew and director Rhiana Yazzie.

What we captured on film with Rhiana Yazzie was, in my opinion, everything our film needed.  It rejuvenated my hope for the world.  It showed me that despite history and despite the past, we can only change the future, and the generations to come, the children of today, already recognize many of these changes that need to be made.  We have been told time and time again throughout filming the documentary that young people need to be raised with a sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.  What Rhiana helps us recognize is that these kids today know they are different, know the are different because they are Native; and they like that difference, they take pride in that difference.

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