When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe went into a lockdown to try and protect its 2,100 tribal members.
Tribal officials implemented curfews, travel restrictions and closures in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.
Roadblocks set up 24 hours a day kept nonresident visitors from entering the Towaoc and White Mesa communities out of concern the virus would spread.
A documentary, “Ute Strong: We Are Resilient,” has been created by tribal members and Native youth filmmakers about the measures taken to save the community.
“The Ute Mountain Ute tribe executed aggressive steps to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said directors Kaldurion Pinecoose, D’Angelo Padilla and Leland Collins, in an event posting. “This documentary explores their path to containment of the virus and shares their sacrifices in doing so.”
The story highlights the personal stories and experiences of tribal members during the ongoing lockdown and pandemic.
The 15-minute film was directed by Pinecoose, Padilla, Collins and Vansan Vicenti.
It is part of the 2020 LA Skins Fest, a Native American film festival presented by COMCAST and NBC Universal.
The executive producers for “Ute Strong: We Are Resilient” are the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Tiwahe Tour De Ute Program and Moguan Behavioral Health Program.
The film can be viewed online from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22 at https://bit.ly/2IPzwBq.
Tickets are $10 each, but Ute Mountain Utes can watch for free by entering a code provided by tribe officials.
A live Q&A with the filmmakers about the documentary will take place on Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. and can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3pHGwRO.
Tribal members’ free ticket includes access to the Native American Award Ceremony broadcast live on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
The LA Skins Fest is Nov. 18 to Nov. 22 and features multiple films made by Native American tribes.
This year’s festival will be the most accessible version to audiences yet, and filmmakers and film lovers will be given unique opportunities to connect and enjoy digital screenings, panels, filmmaker Q&As, musical performances and other original content online. The festival will celebrate indigenous people throughout North America by telling diverse stories, commemorating heritage and fostering dialogue on a variety of platforms.
“We are excited to celebrate our 14th year of incredible cinema from Native America. Every year poses new challenges, we hope to provide a strong dose of positivity by sharing the resilient voice of Native America. As always, we have an exceptional showcase of films, several great events, and an incredible awards gala,” said festival director Patricia Gomes.