November 13, 2019 12:10 pm
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, PBS will re-broadcast Karen Weinberg’s award-winning film Keep Talking.
Keep Talking follows four Alaska Native women fighting to save Kodiak Alutiiq, an endangered language now spoken by less than 40 remaining fluent Native Elders. Their small community travels to remote Afognak Island to start teaching kids Alutiiq. Sadie, 13, is inspired to begin learning the language and dances of her ancestors. Instead of getting swept up in the wake of historical trauma, these women overcome personal demons and build toward a brighter future. Keep Talking reveals the ultimate impact of language and culture revitalization; joy and hope.
A filmmaker with a passion for language, Weinberg was thrilled when the Native Village of Afognak consulted with Elders and agreed to allow her to film their first attempt at a language immersion camp. As filming continued over the next five years, Weinberg immersed herself in Alaska Native history, with a focus on Kodiak Alutiiq history. She studied endangered language revitalization challenges, methodologies and rewards.
The film received a Special Mention at its 2017 world premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival and won First Place in the 2017 Anchorage International Film Festival’s ‘Made in Alaska’ competition, the film’s Alaska premiere. Keep Talking was an official selection of the Hawaii International Film Festival, Anchorage International Film Festival, Reframe Film Festival, and Society for Visual Anthropology Film & Media Festival.
“As a filmmaker, I have often wondered what could be gained by decreasing my screen time and increasing my sense of cultural connection (I am a secular Jew). I think that’s why I was so captivated by the Kodiak Alutiiq community; they were drawing such strength and joy from their language revitalization efforts. These learners and Elders are actively engaged in interpersonal connection as they transmit cultural knowledge from one generation to the next. I thought, they are onto something really special here. I wanted to understand what drove them, and why it was such a powerful force,” said Weinberg.
Keep Talking is also available for purchase on our site! The DVD will include two versions of the film: one version 79 minutes in length and one version 57 minutes as well as English and Spanish subtitles and 18 never-before seen extra scenes. A downloadable educational discussion guide is also available with the purchase of the DVD.
Keep Talking is directed and produced by Karen Lynn Weinberg, executive produced by Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn and Betsy Steinberg, co-produced by Trish Dalton, Rachel Rozycki and Kari Sherod. Cinematography by Nara Garber, edited by Lesley Kubistal. Produced by Ten Trees Productions, Kartemquin, and Vision Maker Media.