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Award Winning Film on Red Lake Nation High School Football Team Goes to Palm Springs

Through the Storm, an award-winning short documentary about the Red Lake Nation high school football team, will be screened on March 21 at the prestigious AmDocs Film Festival in Palm Springs.

Directed by Diné filmmaker Fritz Bitsoi, the 23-minute documentary follows the 2023 season of the Red Lake Nation (Ojibwe) high school football team, and depicts their struggles and triumphs within a community where football is more than just a game.

Through the Storm emphasizes the team's resilience and bond, eespite waning interest and a 20-year losing streak. The film debuted on February 19 at the Big Sky Film Festival in Missoula, Mont., where it was honored with the festival's Artistic Vision Award.

"From the moment we arrived in Red Lake and met with Coach Nolan Desjarlait and members of the community, we were met with nothing but warmth and kindness. Winning this award is a testament to the magic and love we found and were able to capture in Red Lake," Bitsoi said in a press release.

The documentary delves into the personal narratives of the Red Lake community, offering an intimate portrayal of life on the Ojibwe reservation as the team fights to preserve their football program. It captures the transformative power of the Red Lake Nation, showcasing how the athletes draw strength from their community and each other in the face of adversity, highlighting the significance of football within the reservation.

"It was empowering to be a part of a team that fostered a supportive and respectful approach to the story, the land and its subjects throughout the production of this film, and it will be something that I will always cherish," Bitsoie said in a press release. "Getting to collaborate with this team to make a film that subverts the sports narrative was inspiring. I'm super proud of the team and the film we made."

Following its premiere, "Through The Storm" was screened at Willard Alternative High School and the Missoula County Juvenile Detention Facility, with plans for further engagement in the festival circuit.


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