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'Drunktown's Finest' Director Sydney Freeland On Growing Up Navajo And Trans

02/23/2015 12:16 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Writer and director Sydney Freeland was born and raised on a Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico—dubbed "Drunktown." The disconnect between her experiences and the media's portrayal of reservation life compelled her to create last year's Sundance success, Drunktown's Finest. The narrative feature offers not one, but three harrowing interwoven tales of loss and triumph at or around a reservation in Drunktown. Felixia, a trans woman, pursues a spot in the "women of the tribe" calendar. Sick Boy confronts violence and drug abuse. Nizhoni seeks out her past, well after being adopted by a white family. At its core, the film represents the ongoing search for identity and Freeland's desire to more honestly portray reservation life.

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