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May 15, 2008

Burke Museum and the Seattle Theatre Group Present: In the Land of the Head Hunters

The Moore Theater,
Tues., June 10, 2008, 7 pm

A highlight of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, is sure to be a newly restored version of Edward Curtis’s landmark 1914 melodramatic silent film In the Land of the Head Huntersthe first feature-length film to star exclusively Native North Americans. For the first time since 1914, the film will be presented with its original score performed by a live orchestra, and will be followed a live traditional native dance performance by descendants of the original Kwakwaka’wakw cast. Tickets ($12-$20) can be purchased online at http://www.themoore.com/artists/?artist=754 or in person at the Moore box office.

In the Land of the Head Hunters tells an epic story of forbidden love and war set before European contact. As a counterpoint to the many popular Westerns or “Indian Pictures” of the time, the Curtis film broke new ground with its exclusive use of Native actors, unprecedented camera work, spectacular color tinting and toning, and ambitious musical score.

Following the movie The Gwa’wina Dancers, many of whom are direct descendants of the actors in Curtis’s film, will perform over 10 of their traditional dances.They will discuss Kwakwaka’wakw cultural protocol, the relation of the songs and dances to those pictured in the film, as well as the historical context in which the film was made. The company is an adult dance group whose members represent many of the 16 tribes of the Kwakwaka’wakw people.

For more information on the background of the film, visit http://www.curtisfilm.rutgers.edu/. This event is also part of the centennial celebration of the Moore Theatre, where the original version of the film premiered in 1914.

Also on June 10, the Burke will unveil its newly acquired Kwakwaka'wakw Hamat’sa masks, three of the seven originals featured in the film. They are exciting additions to the long-term Pacific Voices exhibit.

Major support for this event has been provided by David Skinner and Catherine Eaton Skinner, the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Mike and Lynn Garvey, the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, and the Canadian Studies Center at the UW.

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