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Old Harbor, New Hope

Western control suppressed Alutiiq language and culture for centuries. Today, only 150 people in the world speak Alutiiq, 60 of them gather now in Old Harbor, Alaska. This is the story of the first Alutiiq dance festival.

  • Joshua A Branstetter
    Seen & Unseen, Dive Back, Costume, I Was Hungry, Hands, A Man Works Alone
  • Drew Michael
    Key Cast
  • Melissa Berns
    Key Cast
  • Allison Warden
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Social Justice, Short, Native American, Alaskan, Music
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 21, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • IndieFest Film Awards

    United States
    Award of Recognition
  • Anchorage International Film Festival
    United States
    December 9, 2017
    North American Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Joshua A Branstetter

Joshua A. Branstetter is a writer-director, cinematographer, editor, playwright, and filmmaker who has received international acclaim for his directorial work including collaborations with 100Stone, The University of Aberdeen, Hospice of Anchorage, the Alaskan Aids Assistance Association, the Old Harbor Alliance, and the award-winning films Costume (2016) and Dive Back (2016). His work has been featured theatrically, in the Metro UK, the Anchorage Press, and Buzzfeed. He resides in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife, two kids, and cat.

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Director Statement

I'll keep this simple. I believe the story, the conversation, it's right there in the film.

The Alutiiq people faced generations of oppression when westerners arrived in Alaska. They faced suppression of their language, their beliefs, their traditions, their culture. Now, there are only 400 people in the world who retain some level of fluency in Alutiiq. 60 of those people reside in Old Harbor, but hundreds united in the small coastal fishing village during the A Time to Dance Again Festival. The first ever Alutiiq Dance Festival. Why? Because they have a vision of a strong, united Alutiiq people. Because they want to pass on their stories to their children, and to teach their children to tell their own stories. Because there aren't signs that say "Do not speak Alutiiq" hanging in their schools and churches anymore. Because they have hope.

It is the hope of the Alutiiq people of Old Harbor that this will bring their people together, and show them that they can be proud of who they are. Not just for the people of Old Harbor, but for native peoples across Alaska, across the world.