Archives / 1989 Sundance Film Festival

Powwow Highway

Director: Jonathan Wacks

Screenwriters: Janet Heaney, David Seals, Jean Stawarz

Institute History

Description

It’s the present on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Lame Deer, Montana. Philbert Bono (Gary Farmer) is a mammoth, easy-going loner—an outsider who yearns to become a spiritual warrior. Buddy Red Bow (A. Martinez) is a slight, angry activist—an insider working, when it serves his interests, to protect his people. Philbert and buddy, it would seem, are heading in different directions. But they are thrown together for one week in a journey against time across the plains of America, rumbling hundreds of mile sown an interstate highway in a beat-up ‘64 Buick Wildcat dubbed “Protector”.

So begins this offbeat and humorous story of two disparate Indians who learn about friendship, love and their cultural heritage as they travel down the scenic expanse of interstate known as the “Powwow Highway”. The road acts as a symbolic connection between ancient traditions and modern reality. Somewhere in the middle, Philbert’s and Buddy’s interests, backgrounds and hopes collide, as they race toward their shared destiny. Each learns from the other what it is to be a warrior. Powwow Highway is an entertaining mix of comedy, drama, spirituality and politics This comic road picture will surely drive straight to your heart. Don’t let it pass you by.

— Lawrence Smith

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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