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The Film

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About The Film

Return to Rainy Mountain is a feature length documentary film that tells the story of N. Scott Momaday. It is a personal account of his life and legacy told in his own voice, and in the voice of his daughter Jill. Momaday speaks of his Kiowa roots, family, literature, oral tradition, nature, identity, and the sacred and important things that have shaped his life.

"My Kiowa father sang and told stories to me from the Kiowa oral tradition from the time I was a young child. That tradition has been largely influenced in the determination of my literary voice. My mother who was predominately English (Cherokee) was a writer, and she gave me a respect for the English language." - N. Scott Momaday

The central characters of the film are Scott Momaday and Jill Momaday. Scott in his articulate, poetic voice talks about his life. He reveals the important and personal events that have shaped him into the man he is today. Jill lends another layer of story and meaning to the film. She brings an honest and vulnerable piece to the narrative as she talks about her father, family, identity, and bloodline. Finding her creative voice as a contemporary Native woman, and articulating that particular voice to her daughters, is important to her. It is a family thread that connects the generations of family together.

The narrative journey of the film will take on a life of its own as the stories and conversations intertwine and give shape to the narrative. Selected excerpts from Momaday's books and collections, such as poems, stories, and oral tradition will help to give structure to the film. Interviews and conversations with family, friends, colleagues, and scholars will add a rich and full perspective to the storyline. Available to the film is an extraordinary archive of Momaday family photos, as well as a multitude of archival video footage and recordings of Scott Momaday over the course of his personal and professional life.

The visual approach to the film will be stunning as we travel to places that are sacred and significant to the Momaday family. Early in his career, Momaday followed the migratory route of the Kiowa people as he was gathering research for his book, The Way to Rainy Mountain. The original migration of the Kiowa people begins in the North at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, eastward to the Black Hills and south to the Wichita Mountains. We will visit places along the way that are central to the story such as Devil's Tower in Wyoming, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and the Kiowa family homestead in Oklahoma. We will also film in New Mexico where both Scott and Jill currently reside.

Return to Rainy Mountain is a personal and unique film that deals with family, cultural heritage, identity, and love. It's a universal story that will appeal to many people across many cultures and inspire and encourage the telling of stories everywhere.

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