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Words from a Bear


When N. Scott Momaday won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize, it marked one of the first major acknowledgments of Native American literature and the vibrant contemporary culture it described. Now, Momaday’s transportive words come to life in this cinematic biography of one of the most celebrated Native American storytellers.

In Jeffrey Palmer’s directorial debut, distinctly expressive animations intersect with stunning footage of the Great Plains as Momaday draws from his Kiowa ancestry and identity to pose universal questions about how we connect to our origins, each other, and the earth. In a series of intimate interviews, Momaday expounds on his life and its many challenges, while insights from the likes of Joy Harjo, Robert Redford, and Jeff and Beau Bridges reveal the impact of his literary contributions. Words from a Bear reveals the inspiring beauty of Momaday’s work while also guiding audiences through the grave historical struggles that Native American communities have faced. The result is a profound celebration of not only Momaday’s writing and history but also the art of storytelling itself.

Screens with Shinaab: Part II
A look at Ojibwe ideas surrounding the death process as a young man strives to honor his late father.

YEAR 2018

CATEGORY Documentary Premieres


RUN TIME 85 min

COMPANY Rainy Mountain Media LLC

EMAIL jppalmer@syr.edu

PHONE (405) 694-1302


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2 D Animators

Artist Bio

Jeffrey Palmer

Jeffrey Palmer is an indigenous (Kiowa) filmmaker and media artist. His short film Isabelle's Garden screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival as part of the Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge. He is an alumnus of Sundance Institute's Native American and Indigenous Program, a participant in Sundance Institute's Creative Producing Summit, and a Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow. He is currently an assistant professor of film at Syracuse University.