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The Blessing

Hunter Robert Baker and Jordan Fein
United States, 2018, 72 min.

In English, Navajo.
This film is family friendly.

AIFF Award Winner:
Best Documentary

Personal and crucial, The Blessing follows Lawrence, a Navajo coal miner raising his secretive daughter as a single father, struggling with his part in the irreversible destruction of their sacred mountain at the hands of America's largest coal producer. For over five years the filmmakers gain unprecedented access to a family on the Navajo Nation. Lawrence endures a life threatening injury and confronts the deep spiritual sacrifice he makes to provide for the people he loves. His daughter, Caitlin, discovers her inner identity and grapples with the expectations of her traditional father, while playing on the men's varsity football team and being crowned homecoming queen. Closer than ever before, The Blessing bears witness to the unbridled will for survival on the reservation.

Director's Statement

In late 2013, we traveled down dirt roads using a hand drawn map to reach a small reservation town that is lovingly dubbed "where the highway ends and the Wild West begins." The journey of crafting The Blessing was motivated by the character's active interest in sharing their heart wrenching experience and taking part in ensuring the preservation of Navajo culture. Lawrence, the main subject, has used the film to explore the traumas of his complicated past for the first time and to solidify the promise of his daughter's future. He took an active role in showing us his world through his eyes; Lawrence filmed sections of The Blessing on his own using a helmet mounted camera. The film was only made possible by a deeply felt connection in front and behind the lens. He trusted us to tell this story, and we did it together.

Category: Documentary.
Themes: Native American, Community, Family, Environment.

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