Arizona frybread is coming Lummi

The “More Than Frybread” movie sensation will play one night only in Whatcom County

On June 7, the “More Than Frybread” phenomenon will hit Northwest Indian College. On that day only, students, staff, faculty and the community will have a chance to view the underground Native movie sensation, visit with the film’s writer and director and show off their own frybread making skills during a frybread cook-off.

The film tells the funny and fictional story of the First Annual Arizona Frybread Championship competition between the 22 tribes of Arizona. Each sends their local champion to compete for the coveted title of Arizona Frybread Champion. 

The film closely follows five individuals from the Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai-Apache, Hualapai, and Tohono O’odham Nations as they journey from their homelands to the state championship held in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“More Than Frybread” has already had an amazing reception around the country in numerous film festivals and reservation screenings and will soon head our way.

“I wanted to bring this movie to our students because it looks hilarious,” NWIC Student Activities Coordinator Victoria Retasket said. “As Native people, we love to laugh and have a good meal, which is usually centered around a darn good piece of frybread. I think it’s a great chance for our NWIC students and surrounding tribal communities to come together for a fun-filled evening. I look forward to the film and the frybread.”

“More Than Frybread” will show at 6:30 p.m.  at NWIC's cafeteria and will be followed by a panel discussion with the writer and director. Tickets will cost $5 for students and $8 for non-students. Refreshments, including frybread, will be sold at the event.

In addition to the film screening, June 7 will also mark the first ever competition for the title of NWIC Frybread Champion.

At 3 p.m. at NWIC’s main campus, competitors will share their frybread with a group of three judges and audience members. The Judge’s Choice winner will receive five free tickets to the movie and an official “More Than Frybread” apron. The Audience Choice winner will receive two free tickets.

“More Than Frybread” is the fourth narrative feature film from Holt Hamilton. Hamilton, who is based out of Mesa, continues to tell unique and modern day stories about Native America. 

“The contemporary Native American story has yet to still really see the light of day,” Hamilton said in a statement. “Most of the world still thinks of Native America as how Hollywood portrayed them back in the early 1940’s, head dresses, teepees, riding across Monument Valley….which is funny, because Monument Valley is located on the Navajo reservation and traditionally Navajos never did live in teepees or did most of the things that we see John Wayne films portraying.”

Hamilton, who is not Native, said his film takes a fun and contemporary look at Native humor. 

“Natives enjoy laughing, I enjoy laughing, and that’s really what this film is about, laughter wrapped around a silly frybread competition that gets a little bit out of hand,” Hamilton said.

Retasket said she thinks Hamilton does a good job of staying away from Hollywood stereotypes of Natives in his work.

“Anyone can make a film about Native people, but I think it takes a down-to-earth person to make a film that really portrays the sense of humor and comical mischief that is so often present in our day-to-day lives,” Retasket said. “Without using stereotypical images, Travis has made a film that we can identify with, and I’m very excited to see it come to NWIC.”

Holt Hamilton Productions also produced “Turquoise Rose,” “Blue Gap Boy’z,” and “Pete & Cleo.”

For more information about the film screening or the frybread competition, contact Victoria Retasket at vretasket@nwic.edu or (360) 392-4233.