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Sun Kissed: “It personalizes the ways in which the past lives in the present.”

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Tonight, October 18, 2012, Maya Stark and Adi Lavy’s Sun Kissed premieres on POV (check your local listings). The documentary follows a Navajo couple as they uncover a hidden link between their children’s rare genetic disorder and the American government’s conquest of their tribe.

Read what critics are saying about Sun Kissed:

“The film, by Maya Stark and Adi Lavy, is built from an unusual mix of history, science and traditional Navajo culture, and its emotional climax pulls no punches.””
— Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

“[The Nez family] must navigate some of their own tribe’s taboos and beliefs about disease, history and marriage. . . . The result is a heartbreaking look at their day to day lives as they care for Leanndra and search for answers.””
— Staci Matlock, Associated Press / The Santa Fe New Mexican

“The film is suffused with a quiet but potent sadness; as it progresses, it becomes a moving, unforced meditation on history and culture, erasure and perseverance. It personalizes the ways in which the past lives in the present, and as the couple peels back layers of their personal history, the larger, grim history of the Navajo people and culture comes sharply into focus.”
— Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly

Watch Sun Kissed tonight on PBS. (check local listings), or stream it online for a limited time starting Friday, October 19, 2012.

Then visit us on Twitter @povdocs, Facebook, or our companion site for Sun Kissed to tell us what you thought of the film.

Keep up with all of this season’s films and get alerts when videos are available for streaming at, on Twitter @povdocs or on Facebook.

POV Staff
POV Staff
POV (a cinema term for "point of view") is television's longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 300 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.
  • Julie

    This was a great documentary, but why didn’t anyone look into theories other than the Long Walk. Another possibility is the connection between XP and the uranium tailings on the reservation that are piled near dwellings and seep into the water sources. There is certainly medical evidence that would suggest and support this possibility.

  • Blanca

    Great work! this documentary was informative as well as touching, I was very upset when I learn about the Long Walk, which seems to be part of the cause, I agree with Julie when she says that the uranium tailings on the reservation might also play a big part in causing XP.

  • Kathleen

    I cried while watching this. The kindly and dignified couple losing both of their children, one after the other, after years of love and suffering. Being given the burden of blame, only to discover years later that the cause was born of intense suffering only to appear again after so many generations; that there are historical or bigger issues at hand that still plague people even today. This was the first time I’ve heard of XP, The Long Walk or uranium tailings. Thank you for telling this story.

  • Shayna

    This film moved me to tears for the Navajo couple and families who have suffered losing their children.The Long Walk history was painful for the elders to speak about the genocide.The nutritional and spiritual suffering through a desert would result in genetic deprivation. I wish there was something I could do to make things better. The US gov’t and military are responsible. They should be made to pay for the genocide of the Navajo people. Justice needs to be avenged. This film reminded me about the Holocaust where gov’t stood by watching the destruction of Jews even to this day. Thank you to the film makers for producing this film.

    • Litttle Feet

      Thak you Shayna for your comment about the American gov’t and military. This was and still is going on against the Native Peoples. My tribe was torture on The Trail of Tears.

  • Donna

    I really enjoyed this documentary because it was real, informative, and thought-provoking. I really felt bad for these families because for so many years, they believed that their “culture” was to blame for their childrens’ XP instead of the possibility of environmental factors. Its disgusting and repulsive how the government continues to berate Native Americans. I hope that Leanndra’s family find peace and happiness despite losing their beautiful children. Thank you so much for this film.

  • Marianella Ortega

    Thank you so much for this film. I really appreciate this documentary, It was very informative and real. I wish you can continue producing this type of material were we can learn about the indean culture. Excelent film !!

  • Marianne

    Thank you for this film, Sad but full of beauty and love in the face of such hardship and pain, I have learned a lot about this evening and this program has encouraged me to learn more,