2017 Viola Award Nominee for Excellence in Storytelling
After eight years of preparation, Klee Benally’s first independent feature film, which is a crux of media activism, punk rock principles, principles, poetry and community, premiered May 21 at the Orpheum Theater. Power Lines is a coming of age story about a young Diné (Navajo) poet who runs away and finds home.
Klee Benally, an activist, artist, silversmith, and filmmaker, was born in Tuba City on the Diné (Navajo) Nation and currently lives in Flagstaff. Before his first feature narrative — Power Lines came out, Benally has made several documentary movies. He directed and edited a documentary called “The Snowbowl Effect”, a feature documentary which has been screened both nationally and internationally.
Power Lines is written, directed, edited, and scored by Klee Benally and filmed with the talents of Outta Your Backpack Media (OYBM), a Flagstaff based non-profit that offers free film making workshops to Indigenous youth. This film also features some local Flagstaff actors.
In the film, Halee, a 16 year old Diné relocation refugee, using poetry to escape from her painful past and present, takes her journey with her best friend to Halee’s homeland when Halee’s abusive father crossed a line. By finding out that her father has been hiding a secret which is able to change Halee’s fate, their journey takes a turn.
“The social impacts of forced relocation at Black Mesa on the Diné Nation have not been addressed in a feature dramatic narrative before.” states by Klee Benally, “I wanted to share a fictional story that focused on social and cultural impacts that are often ignored.”