Documentaries

by Chris Ho on January 26, 2012

Duty Bound

Duty Bound
52 Minutes      2010
In 2007 a company of mostly Yup’ik soldiers from the 2nd Scout Battalion of Alaska’s Army National Guard were ordered on their first active duty deployment.

Along with 400 of their comrades from communities across Alaska they traveled half way around the world in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Duty Bound follows these Eskimo warriors from their homes in the remote subarctic western region of Alaska on a year long tour of duty in the deserts of Northern Kuwait as part of the largest single overseas deployment of Alaska’s Army National Guard since World War Two.
English $20 (DVD)

Platinum Dreams

Platinum Dreams
60 Minutes        2004
In 1926 Walter Smith, a Yup’ik Eskimo prospector, was searching for gold in a remote stretch of hills along Alaska’s far western Bering Sea coast.  Instead of gold he uncovered one of the largest platinum deposits in North America .  Out of this discovery emerged one of Alaska ’s most unique and successful mining ventures, the Goodnews Bay Mining Company.  Winner of a 2005 BronzeTelly Finalist Award.
English $20 (DVD)

Pursuit of Excellence

Pursuit of Excellence
30 Minutes       2003
In 2001, Bethel , Alaska ’s high school Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) drill team was invited to participate in the National JROTC Drill Team Competition in Daytona Beach , Florida , a first for a rural Alaskan high school.  In Pursuit Of Excellence the 12 member drill team recalls the stresses and rigors of their first national competition and the rewards and exhilaration that persistence, hard work and dedication can achieve.
English   $20 (DVD)

Return to Innocence

Return to Innocence: A Journey Through Inhalant Abuse
30 Minutes        2001
Inhalant abuse is one of Native Alaska’s most insidious and deadliest addictions. Return To Innocence leads viewers along the perilous path of inhalant abuse and the many facets and consequences of addiction as seen through the eyes of James Angaiak, a recovering abuser from Bethel , Alaska and two founding members of the Togiak Native Youth Organization, a youth group in the Yup’ik village of Togiak , on a mission to be drug free.
English  $20 (DVD)

To Be of Use

To Be of Use: The Yukon-Kuskokwim Community Health Aide Program
30 Minutes    2001
In 1969 the Yukon/Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) was incorporated specifically to organize a village based health care system for the communities scattered across the 10,000 square miles of tundra in western Alaska .  The Community Health Aide Program (CHAP), created to meet these health care needs,  continues to be one of the primary core services of YKHC.  To Be Of Use tells the story of this vital front line rural health care network, a model for similar programs throughout Alaska and many countries in the developing world.
English   $20 (DVD)

Uncle Sam's Men

Uncle Sam’s Men
30 Minutes        1995
Uncle Sam’s Men tells the story of the men and women who served in the Tundra Army of Alaska’s Territorial Guard during WWII.  Over 6,000 Alaskans volunteered for the Territorial Guard.  More than half were Alaskan Natives, predominantly Yup’ik and Inupiaq Eskimos.  The role these citizen soldiers played in defending Alaska ‘s western and arctic coasts from the threat of Japanese invasion is remembered through the recollections of Tundra Army veterans, rare film footage and photographs of the Tundra Army in action.
English $20 (DVD)

Tales of the Tundra

Tales of the Tundra
60 Minutes        1993
Yup’ik storytellers of southwest Alaska spin tales of fantastic creatures, terrifying ghosts and the mischievous Little People.
English  $20 (DVD)

Cross on the Yukon
30 Minutes        1990
In 1905, Jesuit Priests and Ursuline sisters established an orphanage and school at Akulurak, a slough on the delta of the Yukon River .  It was called St. Mary’s Mission and after it was moved up river in the early 1950’s, the Mission became one of the most well respected boarding high schools in the state.  This half hour documentary looks at the history of St. Mary’s mission from its beginnings in 1905 to 1987, when the high school was closed down.
English  $20 (DVD)

Following the Star

Following the Star
30 Minutes        1987
Russian Orthodox Christmas has been celebrated in Alaska for more than 200 years.  In the Orthodox villages of the lower Kuskokwim River , this holy day has acquired its own flavor, its own special rituals.  Following the Star tells the story of “Slavic”, Russian Orthodox Christmas as celebrated in the small communities of Alaska ’s lower Kuskokwim river.
English   $20 (DVD)

We of the River

We of the River
60 Minutes        1985
This video chronicles the arrival of Moravian missionaries in 1885, the subsequent establishment of the town of Bethel , and the Yup’ik people’s emergence into the 20th century.  Black and white photographs from the first decades of this century and archival film footage from many different sources are interwoven to make “We of the River” one of the most unique documentaries produced in Alaska .
English   $20 (DVD)

Parlez-vous Yup'ik?

Parlez-Vous Yup’ik?
60 Minutes (see Yup’ik Antigone) 1985
Follow a group of amateur actors from Toksook Bay , Alaska , as they perform David Hunsacker’s adaptation  of the Greek tragedy Antigone at the Theater of Nations in Nancy , France and an engagement at the LaMama Playhouse, one of New York ‘s most celebrated dramatic theaters.
English   $20 (DVD)

Edward Hoffman: Once and Only Chief


Edward Hoffman: Once And Only Chief

30 Minutes        1985
One of the Yukon/Kuskokwim region’s most colorful characters is remembered through archival footage and personal memoirs.
English $20 (DVD)

Old Dances, New Dancers

Old Dances, New Dancers
30 Minutes        1984
This program documents the first annual Young People’s Eskimo Dance Awareness Festival, organized in Chevak , Alaska . The intent of the festival was to revitalize traditional Yup’ik dancing by young people.
English $20 (DVD)

A Dancing People

A Dancing People
30 Minutes        1983
In the fall of 1982, dancers and musicians from nine Yup’ik Eskimo villages gathered in the Yukon town of St.Mary ‘s for the first major regional dance festival in over fifty years.  The program documents three days of dancing, gift giving, and contests.
Yup’ik and English  **note: program is narrated in both languages**
English $20 (DVD)

Alaskan River

Alaskan River
30 Minutes        1983
An eight-day float trip down one of Alaska ’s most pristine, wild and scenic rivers is the setting for this half hour production.  Besides demonstrating the compelling beauty of one of Alaska ‘s most remote white water rivers, the possible stress on the area by recreational use and by the threat of economic development is also discussed.  Winner of an Alaskan Press Club Best Photography Award.
English  $20 (DVD)

Eyes of the Spirit

Eyes of the Spirit
30 Minutes        1983
This program documents the creation of three masks designed by Yup’ik master carvers and their apprentices.  A public performance of stories and songs by the Bethel Native Dancers is animated with these masks and marked the revival of masked dancing in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta.
English $20 (DVD)

People of Kashunak
30 Minutes        1983
A family portrait through the sight and sound of the Cup’ik Eskimo village of Chevak located on the Bering Sea coast of Western Alaska.
English   $20 (DVD)

Somebody's Taking Pictures

Somebody’s Taking Pictures
30 Minutes        1983
In 1983, 16mm home movies of the late Joe Mendola, a long time resident of the lower Kuskokwim area, were discovered by a family friend.  This half hour program gives a personal glimpse of life in Napakiak, Napaskiak, Oscarville, Bethel and the lower Kuskokwim during the 1950’s.
English $20 (DVD)

Russian Mission

Russian Mission , Yukon
30 Minutes        1982
Eskimo dancing and winter carnival activities form the background of this documentary look at the lower Yukon village of Russian Mission .  The history and present status of the Russian Orthodox church in that village is explored.
English   $20 (DVD)

St. Mary's Potlatch

St. Mary’s Potlatch
30 Minutes        1981
In 1981 people from three lower Yukon river villages gathered in St. Mary’s to celebrate the traditional Yup’ik Eskimo Messenger Feast at which young people are honored as they come of age.  This program shows you dancing, feasting and historic footage of the late Jimmy Paukan and other elders.
English   $20 (DVD)

They Never Asked Our Fathers

They Never Asked Our Fathers
60 Minutes        1980
This documentary chronicles the impact of fifty years of United States government policies on the Cup’ik Eskimo community of Mekoryuk on Nunivak Island , off Alaska ‘s Bering Sea coast.  Interviews with island residents are interwoven with historic photos describing the problems and conflicts federal oversight had had on the island’s population.
English $20 (DVD)

Just Dancing

Just Dancing
60 Minutes        1987
A solid hour of Yup’ik dancing, performed by dancers from many Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta villages..
$20 (DVD)

From Hand To Hand
45 Minutes                    1985
Four Yup’ik artists from Bethel , Alaska , two carvers, a skin sewer and a story knife story teller talk about  their art forms in this collection of short video pieces.
English or Yup’ik  $20 (DVD)

Yup’ik Antigone (the Play in Yup’ik)
60 Minutes (see also Parlex-Vous Yup’ik)            1984
Sophocles’ 2,500 year old play gets a fresh reading in this adaptation by Alaskan playwright David Hunsaker.  Performed by an amateur troupe of young Yup’ik actors from Toksook Bay , Alaska , Yup’ik Antigone  was presented at the Theater of Nations Festival in Nancy , France and in New York City in native dress and in the Yup’ik  Language.
Yup’ik    $20 (DVD)

Yup’ik Antigone (the Play in English)
60 Minutes (see also Parlez-Vous Yup’ik)            1984
Yup’ik with English voice over translation   $20 (DVD)

Archeology Series
60 Minutes (one tape)     1983
This program consists of three 20 minute segments that explore aspects of the archeology of Yup’ik Eskimo sites throughout southwest Alaska including an examination of the Smithsonian Institution’s Edward Nelson collection.  Produced in cooperation with the Lower Kuskokwim School District , this series was originally designed for use by secondary school students.
$20 (DVD)

The Way We Live
80 Minutes        1981
This four-part program reveals aspects of traditional Yup’ik life: An elder from the Kuskokwim drainage makes and uses a traditional fish trap; the purpose and procedure for holding a seal party is explained; several elders recall the traditional use and care of dog teams and the construction and use of dance sticks are explained by two master carvers from Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea. This series was originally produced for the Lower Kuskokwim School District .
$20 (DVD)

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