Private Project

Yupiit: Eye of Both Worlds

In a remote village in Alaska, local singer/songwriter Byron Nicholai engages a new generation of Yupik natives using rap and beatboxing. Retelling traditional stories, he is helping young people forge a stronger connection to their cultural heritage and values, including music and dance, subsistence hunting, and protection of the environment. These lessons are now passed down by Nicholai.

  • Stephanie Alton
    Director
    Ridin' for the Brand documentary, Raven's Flight short film
  • Stephanie Alton and Sharon Hansen
    Writer
    Ridin' for the Brand
  • Stephanie Alton
    Producer
    Ridin' for the Brand, Raven's Flight
  • Byron Nicholai, Priscilla Jimmie
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 43 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 14, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No

  • United States
Distribution Information
  • Stephanie Alton
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Stephanie Alton

Stephanie Alton was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but for a number of years has resided in Montana. She received her MFA from Pratt Institute. She also studied film at New York University. Alton’s work is in the State of Alaska Permanent Collection. Her documentary “Ridin’ for the Brand” is distributed by Dark Hollow Films and has been shown on PBS. She is an award winning filmmaker and her films have been at numerous film festivals.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Yupiit: Eye of Both Worlds is a documentary about the Yupik people of Alaska, but shares a universal message. I first met the Yupiit when I was working in the fishing industry in Alaska. Priscilla Jimmie, my roommate at the time, introduced me to her relatives from her village and I was welcomed into their culture. That was the beginning of a long lasting friendship.
While researching Toksook Bay, AK I became aware of Byron Nicholai and his incredible story. Byron was using YouTube to share his music with his friends. He was a sensation with the younger generation in Alaska and had a growing audience. I was impressed with his musical talent and the message he was passing down from his elders, through his singing and songwriting. He found a way to inspire his peers, with his inner wisdom and insight into the conflicts of being a youth at this time.