In the Land of the Head Hunters 1914
At the turn of the twentieth century, photographer Edward S. Curtis made his name documenting Native Americans, striving to preserve memories of a culture that he saw slipping away. Feeling these static images were not enough to capture the richness of native life, he turned to the new medium of film. The result is In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914), a movie more documentary than drama, but still filled with excitement , tension and beautifully-composed shots.

Filmed in British Columbia, on the Pacific Coast, the film featured members of the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe at a time where the practice of many of their customs was outlawed by the Canadian government (as was also experienced by tribes in the United States). In the making of his film, Curtis not only documented these traditions, but he gave the tribe an opportunity to practice them freely with the defense that they were making a movie.

It was the first feature-length film whose cast was composed entirely of Native North Americans; the second, eight years later, was Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North.

Director: Edward S. Curtis
Cast: Stanley Hunt, Sarah Constance Smith Hunt
Country: United States, Canada
Genre: Drama, History

2xBD25 | 1080p AVC | 01:06:34 | 46 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English Intertitles
Subtitles: none


*** The Film - 1914 version
• Audio Commentary by Bill Holm, Andy Everson, and Aaron Glass, Edited by Keith Sanborn
• "Documents of Encounter: The Head Hunters Reconstruction Project" (2014; 37:23)
• Still Gallery, courtesy of the University of Washington Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and Mick Gidley (5:28)
• "Turning Point Ensemble" and the score (2013; 3:09)
• Trailer (1:12)

*** The Film - 1973 sound version titled "In the Land of the War Canoes" (480i, MPEG-2, 43:58) With optional English subtitles for the Kwak’wala dialogue
• "The Image Maker and the Indians" making-of documentary by Holm and Quimby (1979; 16:33)
• "Cultural Presentation by the Gwa’wina Dancers" (2008; 83:31)
• Cylinder Recordings of Traditional Music (recorded by Edwin S. Curtis in 1910):
-- "Devilfish Mask"
-- "Wildman of the Woods"
-- "Song of the Nuhbimahla in Winter Ceremony"
-- "Bear Song, Winter Dance"
-- "Love Song"
-- "Morning Song"
-- "Nursery Song"
-- "Hamatsa Song"
-- "Hamatsa Song of Motana"
-- "Healer's Song"
-- "Pahala Song"