N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear

Jeffrey Palmer | Documentary Feature
Kiowa| United States | 2018 | 84 min

Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 4:00pm
Sensory Friendly Screening: N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 5

Friday, October 25, 2019 | 6:00pm
N. Scott Momaday: Words From a Bear
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 2

Up until the late sixties, an Indigenous writer had yet to win a major literary award within the US. That all changed when Kiowa author N. Scott Momaday received the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his debut novel House Made of Dawn. That recognition helped launch the "Native American Renaissance," a nationwide emergence of art and literature in a wide variety of forms, and solidified Momaday as one of the most celebrated Native American storytellers. Momaday himself is also a poet and playwright, as well as a short story writer, a breadth of skill and experience charismatically captured in Jeffrey Palmer's distinctive documentary debut. Words from a Bear reveals the inspiring beauty of Momaday's work while also guiding audiences through the grave historical struggles that Native American communities have faced. The result is a profound celebration of not only Momaday's writing and history but also the art of storytelling itself.


Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa) is currently an Assistant Professor of Film at Cornell University. His films have screened around the world at the Sundance Film Festival, HotDocs, Seattle International Film Festival, The Berlinale European Market, PBS Online Film Festival, Māoriland Film Festival, Borneo International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE, Festival International du Film Ethnographique du Québec (FIFEQ). This film is Palmer's directorial feature debut. It premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will be nationally televised in the USA on the PBS series American Masters in the fall of 2019.