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Film Update

Find out what happened to Stan Sr. and Stan Jr., learn what the community in Old Crow thought of Arctic Son and read about filmmaker Andrew Walton's upcoming projects.

  • August 21, 2007

Stanley Njootli Sr,Stanley, Sr. still lives in Old Crow. This past summer he worked in Old Crow as a heavy equipment operator, improving roads and laying foundations for new homes. He also continues to work with the Renewable Resources Council in Old Crow, which manages wildlife and environmental interests in the region. With fall approaching, he'll be back out hunting, fishing and gathering wood to prepare for the winter.

Stanley Njootli Jr. Stanley, Jr. has lately been dividing his time between Old Crow and the capital city of Whitehorse, where he has been taking several different courses. Like Stan Sr, he also works for the Renewable Resources Council. This past summer he spent a great deal of time in the bush as part of a team conducting research and a fish census project on fish in the surrounding rivers. He continues to draw and paint with the hope of someday bringing his artwork to a larger audience.

POV: How has Arctic Son been received by the community in Old Crow?

Andrew Walton: I was unfortunately not able to go when it was screened in Old Crow, so I can only tell you what I've gotten through emails and through phone conversations. The film deals with a lot of really personal issues that apply to the Stans, but also apply to a lot of people in Old Crow. These people have complicated lives. The leaders in the community probably had a much different film in mind than we made, but if you're going to make an objective movie about a place, that movie has to talk about the challenges as well as the benefits. When the movie screened in the village, it probably surprised some people that we talked about some of the things that go on in Old Crow that maybe not everybody wants to talk about. The film was probably tough for the people in the community to watch, but I think ultimately people respect its honesty.

POV: How has Arctic Son been received at festival screenings? What message has resonated most with audiences?

Walton: At some of the film festivals, I've been approached by kids that are probably 18, 19, 20. In Washington, D.C., three kids came up to me who had driven all the way from Maine to see the movie. They had seen it on the Internet and all three of them said, "Stan Jr. is me. I've felt completely disenfranchised growing up. My parents split up, and I really wanted to see this movie to see somebody else like me out there struggling in society as it is today." From an educational standpoint, there's a benefit to kids that are at-risk or not at-risk seeing this story and getting a sense for how to make decisions and turn things around. There might also be a message for absentee fathers who have pulled themselves together and decided to make room in their lives again for their kids. During the entire time of making this film, Stan Sr. never once scolded his son or pulled him aside and said, "You'd better straighten up, you'd better stop screwing up." It might have been because we were there, but I think that it was that he knew Stan Jr. was at an age where he had to pull himself up and figure things out for himself.

POV: What are you working on now?

Walton: I continue to direct television commercials and Internet content. On the documentary front, I am currently developing a film about minor-league baseball in Cuba and have begun researching a film about Iraq war veterans recovering from catastrophic injuries who use yoga as a way to reconnect with their bodies.

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