SXSW Winner ‘Long Line of Ladies’ Acquired by The Op-Docs of The New York Times, Premiering November 1 – The New York Times Company | Episode Movies

The New York Times is pleased to announce that Grand Jury Award winner for Best Documentary at SXSW Film 2022, Long Line of Ladies will make its debut on Op-Docs, The’s award-winning series of short documentaries Times independent filmmakers. It will premiere on Tuesday, November 1st, the first day of Indigenous Peoples Month on nytimes.com and The Times YouTube channel.

“Long Line of Ladies” transports audiences into the world of Ahtyirahm “Ahty” Allen, a 13-year-old member of the Karuk tribe of Northern California, as she anticipates her “ihuk,” or flower dance — a once-slumbering coming-of-age ceremony that is taking place after young women in her community had their first period. With stunning cinematography shot on 16mm, the film takes us on a journey of tradition and self-discovery, allowing us to peek behind the curtain of a ceremony in the Karuk tribe that was all but lost until its revival in the 1990s.

The documentary follows Ahty as she prepares for the big day, but doesn’t show the ceremony itself; The filmmakers refrained from filming the event out of respect for community traditions and the privacy of participants. As Adam Piron wrote in his article about the film for CNN, “The film offers a much-needed realignment of notions that indigenousness is at odds with modernity by showing an indigenous tribe celebrating traditions and recontextualizing them for a younger generation .”

The film is co-directed by Shaandiin Tome, whose previous work includes the award-winning Sundance short Mud (Hashtl’ishnii), and Rayka Zehtabchi, who directed her 2019 short documentary Period. End of sentence.”

Long Line of Ladies premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and won Best Jury Awards for Best Short Documentary at festivals such as SXSW, San Francisco International Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival, earning it an Academy Award nomination 2023 qualified for the best documentary short film. He also received the Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award at the IndyShorts International Film Festival.

The film was recently named to both DOC NYC’s Short List for Shorts and the Cinema Eye Honors Short List for Best Non-Fiction Short. Should the film receive an Oscar® nomination, Tome, who hails from the Diné community, would be the first ever Native American director to be nominated.

The film has a special meaning for Tome – the “Ihuk” ceremony depicted in the film reminded her of the Diné women’s ceremony known as “kinaaldá”. She told CNN, “I didn’t want mine when I was younger because I was embarrassed at the time. It was a lot about how I saw myself at the time, which also reflected how popular culture portrayed indigenous women. When I was growing up, there wasn’t much representation…. There were the women that I saw in my life that I felt were powerful and influential. Then there were depictions like Disney’s “Pocahontas,” which created a romanticized one-note portrait of local women.”

Tome adds, “This film served as a vessel for complex and undeniable beauty, defying existing narratives about indigenous peoples. It is a reminder that we are alive in our fullest purpose and breathing life into the way we can be considered indigenous people of this land. Historically, tribal peoples in the film have been at the mercy of our oppressors. Our stories are not written or created by us and require conflict and trauma. Throughout my career I have wondered why it is necessary to frame tribal stories in a detrimental way in order for them to be worthy. Long Line of Ladies has transformed how I view my role as a Diné filmmaker and how we can celebrate our way of life from our own perspective while appreciating the lives of communities that heal together to create a better future.”

Zehtabchi says, “Wo ‘period. End of sentence.” aimed to shed light on the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, the concept for this project was to transform the conversation by highlighting a community that celebrates menstruation. But what started out as a short film about periods grew into a much larger story about community, family and tradition.”

The film was produced by Garrett Schiff, Rayka Zehtabchi and Sam Davis for Junk Drawer in association with The Pad Project, along with Pimm Tripp-Allen and Dana Kurth. It was directed and edited by Sam Davis with music by Forrest Goodluck and Juan Kleban.

For Op-Docs, Adam Ellick is Executive Producer, Christine Kecher is Senior Commissioning Editor, Andrew Blackwell is Supervising Editor, Alexandra Garcia is Supervising Producer, and Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo is Series Producer.

About The New York Times Op Docs

Op-Docs is the New York Times’ award-winning series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers and part of the Opinion Video division. Op-Docs is curated from the work of both renowned and emerging filmmakers from around the world, with a collection of more than 370 short films that have sparked global debate, influenced national politics and received a range of industry awards including Emmy Awards, Peabody awards and

Oscar® nominations and an Oscar® win in 2022 for Ben Proudfoot’s The Queen of Basketball.

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