Press/Journalists
Press Release
June 30, 2000
Award-Winning American Indian Film to Be Shown at the National Archives

Washington, DC. . . Escape the heat and come to the National Archives Building to see the award-winning documentary film, "Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians." This recent film, which has only been shown once before in Washington, chronicles the story of the famous photographer of Native Americans, Edward S. Curtis. The film was written, produced, and directed by Anne Makepeace. The free film will be shown in the theater of the National Archives Building, Pennsylvania Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW at 7 PM on Thursday, July 13 and noon on Friday, July 14.

In 1900, Curtis attended a Piegan Sundance in Montana. The ceremony had recently been outlawed and Curtis believed that it might be the final opportunity to document the tradition. This experience was a turning point in his career--to record traditional Indian culture. Eighty years later, the photographs taken by Curtis of the Sundance inspired the Piegans to revive the ceremony. "Coming to Light" describes this important revival and highlights other important contributions of Curtis' enormous body of work-10,000 recordings, 40,000 photographs, and a full-length ethnographic motion picture.

"Coming to Light" also gives Native Americans a voice in the discussion of Curtis' photographs. Hopi, Navajo, Cupig, Blackfeet, Piegan, Suquamish and Kwakiutl people who are descended from Curtis' subjects or who use his photographs to preserve their cultural heritage, serve as an interpretive guide--commenting on the images, recounting stories about the people in the photographs, and discussing the importance of the pictures.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.

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