Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 28, 2000 · Page 6
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 6

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, January 28, 2000
Page 6
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A-6 — Ffil., JAN. 28-SAt, JAN. 29,2000 ArtsSEntertainment THE UKIAH DAILY JOURN/ FILM SHOWING Actor Evan Adams to present 'Smoke Signals' in Willits O n Feb. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Noyo Theatre in Willits, Mendocino College Community Extension and several other community organizations will present a special one-evening showing of the acclaimed movie, "Smoke Signals," accompanied by an in- person guest appearance by actor Evan Adams who plays the role of Thomas Builds-The-Fire in (he film. Presented by ComEx in cooperation with Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority and the-Alliance of Adults and Youth, the evening presentation is also supported by the Mendocino College Native American Student Organization, Native American Advisory Committee, Office of Special Student Services 14th Annual Native American College Motivation Day, Willits Center for the Arts, and Cinema West/Noyo Theatre. The special screening will also include an opportunity to meet Adams and discuss the film. Open to the public, a $1 donation is requested. "Smoke Signals," the critically acclaimed 1998 Miramax film with screenplay based on short stories by Sherman Alexie, tells the story of Victor Joseph and his lifelong friend from the "Rez," Thomas Builds-the-Fire. It won the coveted Audience Award for best film, and the Filmmakers Trophy, when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. The first full-length feature film, written, directed and co- produced by American Indians, "Smoke Signals" weaves a tale of fathers, friends and forgiveness that captures the American Indfcn experience while tran- scejiding it to relate a poignant, universal, contemporary story. In the film's story, Victor and Thcpnas are Coeur-d'Alene Indian teens who have rarely set foo( off their reservation. An unexpected road trip changes both' of their lives forever. When the! nerdy Thomas was an infant, hisiparents were killed in a tragic fire and Arnold Joseph, the father of his schoolmate and reluctant friend, Victor, rescued him. Thomas went to live with his grandmother who raised him to be just like her. Victor grows into a handsome and cocky young man, jus,t the opposite of Thomas. Victor and Thomas are faced with circumstances which force them to embark on a journey together off the Rez in which they each discover things about themselves, their families, and their community heritage. In their review of the film in 1998, film critics Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel gave the movie "two big thumbs up" and Rolling Stone magazine called Smoke Signals "One of the best films of the year!" Mark Rawitsch, Assistant Dean of Community Extension at Mendocino College, and Adrien Malicay, Native American Outreach Specialist at the college, have been working with Evan Adams to arrange his visit to the North Coast. "We're pleased and honored that Evan has been able to make these special arrangements to visit with us, particularly because he is now busy with his own studies as a medical student in Canada," says Rawitsch. Malicay explained that Adams will also appear earlier in the day as a guest speaker at the college's 14th Annual Native American College Motivation Day at the Ukiah Campus. "All students, young and elderly are welcomed to hear Evan Adams at the 14th Annual College Motivation Day. Evan is looking forward to visiting the area and sharing his experiences with the community," Malicay adds. The film screening at the Noyo Theatre was produced by Rawitsch, Malicay, Adams, and representatives of Cinema West Theatres. "We are able to support this low-cost presentation because of support from the California Wellness Foundation grant to Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority ahd the college," says Rawitsch. "Northern Circle and the Alliance for Youth and Adults have been Evan Adams in Chris Eyre's "Smoke Signals." working closely with the college over the past year to develop classes for the new Native Wellness Institute and to provide public presentations about community health," he adds. "We're also pleased that Cinema West and the Noyo Theatre in Willits were able to make special arrangements to secure 'Smoke Signals' for this special screening," Rawitsch continues. A few years ago, after several years of non-operation, the historic Noyo Theatre in .Willits was completely renovated by Cinema West which now operates the three-screen theatre adjacent to the nearly completed . Willits Center for the Arts. East Commercial Street in Willits is becoming the center for a growing selection of cultural activities in the town's downtown neighborhood. The Noyo now features a consistent program of current movies and art films on selected weekdays. "We at Cinema West are pleased to be part of this wonderful opportunity for our community," says Beth Feintech, Film Buyer for Cinema West in Petaluma. "Our 'Smoke Signals' presentation on Feb. 10, is intended to provide an opportunity for people in our North Coast community to hear author Sherman Alexie's modern story of Indian life, explore issues of healthy communities, and enjoy an excellent movie all at the same time. I hope the younger members of our audience will also begin thinking about the kind of creativity in the arts it takes to support fine movie making. I'm also hoping we might inspire another young storytellers, writers, poets, and performers from our own region to become suc- . cessful participants in the contemporary arts. By hearing Evan Adams' own personal story and having a chance to meet him in person, maybe someone will decide to follow in his footsteps," Rawitsch adds. Adams is a Coast Salish actor and writer from the Sliammon Band near Powell River, B.C., Canada. He is also a medical student, now ' studying to become a physician. Adams was the first President of the Healing Our Spirit BC First Nations AIDS Society, which provides prevention education for aboriginal people in both urban and rural First Nations communities. In 1986, Adams was selected as a Role Model by the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. He has also scripted a program for the Canadian Broadcasting anthology series, Four Directions, called "My Father's Son" and has recently completed two other screenplays: "Stonefaces" for Wild Bunch Productions of Vancouver, and "Seagull," co-written with Anne Cameron. His new, one man show, "Son of Raven," has received staged readings at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, and at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria. He has also worked with Native youth in health promotions and life-skills workshops across the country. In a recent interview, Adams told stories of his childhood, explained his interest in the movies, and in studying to become a 1 doctor. He even remembered working early on as a garbage man. "Oh, I was a garbage man once! It was kind of a family business one-year. My middle sister, Grace, drove the truck, and my youngest sister Maureen and I slung garbage in the back. It was filthy work, and we were constantly falling and slipping once I even fell under the garbage truck - and my sister Grace was the fastest and worst garbage-truck driver ever! But we laughed and laughed our way through it all. I have really fond memories of riding the back of that zoomin' rez garbage truck with my sister," he explained. > "I've always wanted to beia doctor. Acting was a long diversion from my original intention. A casting director spotted me on the street one day, and the next day I was auditioning for a principal role for a feature film, which I eventually landed. But I've always wanted to be a doctor. I decided at 29 that I'd better get back to it or lay it to rest forever. My parents were orphaned by the TB epidemics of the 1930's and 40's. My earlj- est memories are of hearing of their deaths and that of various aunts, uncles and cousins. My family deserved a better life than they got, and my desire to make their quality of life better extends to others. I'm trying to do my part to make the world a better place, especially for Indian people, through the health sciences," Adams concluded. Seating for the single 6:30 p.m. showing of "Smoke Signals" is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first- served basis. For more information about the movie, call Mendocino College Community Extension at 468-3063. For more information about the college's 14th Annual Native American College Motivation Day at the Ukiah Campus, call the college Native American Outreach Office at 468-3015, or visit the college web site, search keywords "college motivation day" at For a complete listing of Mendocino College classes and events, visit the Events Calendar at regular-prices throughout the store! two a on_ Saturday & Sunday, January 29-30 Carrot t» MM) to pvngnt on account, to futtoe cm C*ttt*l* a mentor puctiui. JCPenney

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