Impact | VIFF Impact
Filmed over a period of five years in and around Kodiak, Alaska, Keep Talking is a beautifully crafted film about resilience, empowerment and community as told through the stories of four young women fighting to reclaim and revitalize the Alutiiq language, which has less than 40 fluent speakers left. Women are very much at the centre of efforts to revitalize Alutiiq in Kodiak: from the bright-eyed, mischievous grannies berating PhD-holding ethnographers; to the two best friends who overcome addictions and go on to start a pre-school Alutiiq immersion program together; to the shy 13-year-old Alutiiq student who blossoms into a quietly confident young woman training to become a teacher herself.
Interweaving personal narratives, local history, interviews with academics and elders, animated Alutiiq legends and footage of various initiatives to teach the language to Alutiiq children and youth, Karen Lynn Weinberg’s documentary skillfully positions the lives of these women and their efforts to bring back their language and cultural traditions within broader historical and social contexts. At its core, though, this is a deeply personal film, one that is brimming with laughter, joy and hope. It’s a celebration of the power of language and culture to create identity, to strengthen communities, to connect generations and to heal trauma.
Both screenings of this film will have some very special guests in attendance, including co-producer Rachel Rozycki; film participant Lynda Lorenson, who is an Alutiiq mother and teacher featured in the film; and Melissa Borton, who is the Native Village of Afognak's Tribal administrator and runs language revitalization efforts, including the immersion camp featured in the film.