Who We Are: Short Film Aims to Honor the Strength and Legacy of Indigenous People

With Indigenous women front and center, filmmaker Alex Sallee’s short film “Who We Are” is a powerful portrait of the ties between generations past, present and future.

STILL FROM 'WHO WE ARE' BY ALEXIS ANORUK SALLEE

As we celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we’re thrilled to share “Who We Are”, the stunning short film from director Alexis “Alex” Sallee that stopped us in our tracks when we first saw it earlier this year.

Alex Sallee, who creates “cultural visual projects that honor Indigenous stories and people”, is of Iñupiaq descent, from Anchorage, Alaska. And when “Who We Are” first debuted in 2019, it was met with acclaim from both critics and viewers alike, including winning the She Directed film contest. Hit play below – we’re sure you’ll understand why:

“Often we don’t see Alaska Natives on the screen and when we do, it doesn’t depict who we are as people today. “Who We Are” is a short film about a young Iñupiaq artist’s connection to ancestral lands through her painting. With each brush stroke, she reflects on climate change and its effects on Alaska Native villages. She narrates the motivation behind the portrait while exploring her role in the preservation of land and culture.” – YouTube description

Beyond her filmmaking and directing (and you can see more of her work here!), Alex co-hosts the Native Artist podcast, which “takes a deep dive into the stories of native artists, spanning a wide range of artistic disciplines. From directors and writers to carvers and fashion designers, artists share their unique stories and perspectives on navigating these fields while reclaiming native identity.” Here’s the trailer if you want to get a taste of it!

who we are
Still from “Who We Are” by Alex Sallee

And per her Instagram, Alex has been underway with an exciting new project called Dear Kin, “a storytelling project that highlights individuals from the Alaska Native Two-Spirit and LGBTQI+ community through video and portraiture. Each person shares their personal experiences of being who they are in a short video format, where they reflect on who and what has informed them, and where they draw their strength from. Dear Kin is a letter to past, present, and future Indigenous queer relatives.”

We’re so grateful for the art that Alex has already put into the world, and are excited to continue to follow along with her Dear Kin and beyond! Want to see more from her? Check out her homepage, and follow her Instagram and her podcast!

“Who We Are” Credits:
Made Possible with Funding from Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, RavnAir Alaska

WRITER | DIRECTOR
ALEXIS ANORUK SALLEE

STARRING | ARTIST
TRISTAN AGNAURAQ MORGAN

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY | COLOR
TOMAS KARMELO AMAYA

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
SARA MAE JAMES

PRODUCER | EDITOR | SOUND DESIGNER
ALEXIS ANORUK SALLEE

FEATURING
MOTHER | LUELLA FISHEL
DAUGHTER | GENEVIEVE FISHEL
CARVER | LISA APANGALOOK

MUSIC BY
ILAKUS DRUM GROUP
“TRUE NORTH”
BY TREVOR KOWALISKI

ADDITIONAL MUSIC BY EVAN GEIGER

NOME COMMUNITY LIAISON
DONNA JAMES

NATIVE VILLAGE OF SHISHMAREF LOCAL COORDINATOR
ANNIE M. WEYIOUANNA

We would like to acknowledge and express gratitude to the communities in which we filmed, Nome and Shishmaref traditional lands of the Iñupiat, Anchorage and Wasilla traditional lands of the Athabascan.

Dedicated to the women who influence our lives
A Production of Koahnic Broadcast Corporation and INDIGEFI

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