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New York Times Op-Docs Premieres Award-Winning Short ‘Long Line Of Ladies,’ On Ritual Welcoming Indigenous American Girl Into Womanhood

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EXCLUSIVE: The award-winning documentary Long Line of Ladies, about a 13-year-old Native American girl’s coming of age ceremony in the Karuk tradition, will premiere on the New York Times Op-Docs channels Tuesday, the first day of Indigenous Peoples Day.

The film directed by Shaandiin Tome and Oscar winner Rayka Zehtabchi offers an intimate look at the experience of Ahtyirahm “Ahty” Allen, a member of the Karuk Tribe of Northern California, as she prepares for her “Ihuk” or Flower Dance – a once-dormant ritual that “takes place after young women in her community have their first period.”

As part of the ceremony, Ahty will fast for three and a half days and wear a taáv, a kind of feathered veil obscuring her sight, for four days. The 22-minute long film doesn’t show the actual ceremony itself – “the filmmakers refrained from filming the event out of respect for the traditions of the community and the privacy of the participants,” according to a release about the film. But it shows the steps taken by Ahty, her family and community members leading up to the moment she embarks on her journey, symbolically marking her entrance into womanhood.

“You’re blinded for four days and you’re reflecting on your inner self,” Ahty’s father explains to her about the ceremony, as he hand crafts the feathered blinder. “Then we remove your taáv and you’re reborn as a woman.”

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“The ceremony was held for generations without interruption,” text on screen at the beginning of the film states, “until the violence and destruction brought on by the Gold Rush, where Native American girls and women were victims of sexual violence.” A group of Karuk people revived the tradition in the early 1990s “to once again honor their girls as they transition into womanhood.”

Long Line of Ladies premiered at Sundance and went on to win top jury prizes at a number of festivals including SXSW, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Seattle International Film Festival, qualifying it for Academy Award consideration for Best Documentary Short Film. It also received the Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award at the IndyShorts International Film Festival and was recently named to both DOC NYC’s Shorts Shortlist and the Cinema Eye Honors Shorts List for Best Nonfiction Short Film.

Regarding its Oscar eligibility, a release noted, “If the film were to receive an Academy Award nomination, Tome, who is from the Diné community, would become the first-ever Native American director to be nominated.”

“This film has served as a vessel of complex and undeniable beauty, defying existing narratives about Indigenous people,” Tome observed. “It is a reminder that we are alive, in our fullest purpose, breathing life into the ways that we can be viewed as Native peoples of this land. Historically, Indigenous people in film have been at the whim of our oppressors. Our stories have not been written or created by us, demanding conflict and trauma. Throughout my career, I have questioned why there is a need to frame stories about Indigenous people in detrimental ways for them to be worthy. Long Line of Ladies has changed how I see my role as a Diné woman filmmaker and how we can celebrate our way of life from our own perspective, while valuing the lives of communities healing together to create a better future.”

'Long Line of Ladies' poster

The New York Times Op-Docs

Long Line of Ladies was shot on 16mm film by DOP Sam Davis, who also edited the documentary. It will premiere on nytimes.com and the New York Times YouTube channel as part of the distinguished Op-Docs series (earlier this year, the New York Times Op-Doc The Queen of Basketball, directed by Ben Proudfoot, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short).

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Zehtabchi won her Oscar in 2019 for Period. End of Sentence., a short documentary filmed in India about women who band together to manufacture low cost but high-quality sanitary pads. 

“Where Period. End of Sentence. aimed to shed light on the stigma and shame surrounding menstruation, the concept for this project was to change the conversation by highlighting a community who celebrates menstruation,” Zehtabchi said in a statement. “But what began as a short film about periods blossomed into a much greater story of community, family, and tradition.”

The film is produced by Garrett Schiff, Zehtabchi and Davis for Junk Drawer in association with The Pad Project, along with Pimm Tripp-Allen and Dana Kurth. It was shot and edited by Davis, with music by Forrest Goodluck and Juan Kleban. 

For Op-Docs, Adam Ellick is executive producer, Christine Kecher is senior commissioning editor, Andrew Blackwell is supervising editor, Alexandra Garcia is supervising producer, and Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo is series producer. 

Watch a teaser trailer for Long Line of Ladies here:

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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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