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New York Times Op-Docs Premieres ‘Long Line Of Ladies’ – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Award-winning documentary A long line of ladiesabout a 13-year-old Native American girl’s coming-of-age ceremony in the Karuk tradition, will premiere in New York Times Op-Docs channels Tuesday, the first day of Indigenous Peoples Day.

Director’s film Shaandin tome and an Academy Award winner. Rayka Zehtabchi offers an intimate look at the experiences of Ahtiiram “Ahti” Allen, a member of the Karuk Tribe of Northern California, as she prepares for her “Ihuka,” or Flower Dance, a once-dormant ritual that “occurs after young women in her community have their first period.”

As part of the ceremony, Ahti will fast for three and a half days and wear a taav, a kind of feather veil that covers her vision, for four days. The 22-minute film does not show the ceremony itself – “the creators of the film refrained from filming the event out of respect for the traditions of the community and the privacy of the participants,” according to a release about the film. But it shows the steps taken by Ahti, her family and community members before she embarks on her journey, symbolically marking her entry into womanhood.

“You are blind for four days and you reflect on your inner self,” Ahti’s father explains of the ceremony as he handcrafts the blind man with feathers. “Then we remove your taav and you are reborn as a woman.”

“The ceremony went on for generations without interruption,” says the on-screen text at the beginning of the film, “until the violence and destruction caused by the gold rush, when Native American girls and women were sexually assaulted.” In the early 1990s, a group of Karuk revived the tradition of “re-honoring their girls as they become women.”

A long line of ladies It premiered at Sundance and won Grand Jury Prizes at a number of festivals, including SXSW, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Seattle International Film Festival, qualifying it for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. It also won the Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award at the IndyShorts International Film Festival and was recently shortlisted by DOC NYC and shortlisted by Cinema Eye Honors for Best Nonfiction Short.

Regarding Oscar eligibility, the release noted, “If the film were to receive an Academy Award nomination, Tome, who hails from the Diné community, would become the first Native American director to be nominated.”

“This film served as a vessel of complex and undeniable beauty, challenging existing narratives about Indigenous people,” Tome noted. “It is a reminder that we are alive, in our full purpose, breathing life into what can be considered the indigenous peoples of this land. Historically, indigenous peoples in movies have been subject to the whims of our oppressors. Our stories were not written or created by us, they require conflict and trauma. Throughout my career, I have wondered why there is a need to frame stories about Indigenous peoples in ways that are harmful to them in order to make them worthy. A long line of ladies it has changed how I see my role as director Dine and how we can celebrate our way of life from our own perspective while valuing the lives of communities rebuilding together to create a better future.”

The New York Times Op-Docs

A long line of ladies was shot on 16mm film by DOP Sam Davies, who also edited the documentary. It will premiere on nytimes.com and the New York Times YouTube channel as part of its acclaimed Op-Docs series (earlier this year the New York Times Op-Doc Queen of basketballdirected by Ben Proudfoot, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short).

Zehtabchi received her Oscar in 2019 for Point. End of sentence.a short documentary film made in India about women who band together to produce low-cost but high-quality sanitary napkins.

“Where Point. End of sentence. to shed light on the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, the concept behind this project was to change the conversation by highlighting a community that celebrates menstruation,” Zehtabchi said in a statement. “But what started as a short period film grew into a much bigger story of community, family and tradition.”

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

For Op-Docs, Adam Ellick is executive producer, Christine Ketcher is senior assigning editor, Andrew Blackwell is managing editor, Alexandra Garcia is executive producer, and Yvonne Ashley Quajo is series producer.

Watch the teaser trailer A long line of ladies here:


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