The film follows two adolescent Navajo cousins from different worlds who bond during a summer herding sheep on their grandmother’s ranch in Arizona while learning more about their family’s past and themselves.
Written and directed by Native American filmmaker Billy Luther (Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo), “Frybread Face and Me” was one of the 10 projects selected as part of 2020 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs. The film is semi-autobiographical and Chad Burris (“City Boyz” “Ass Backwards”) is signed on to produce.
Waititi, who is in pre-production on “Thor: Love and Thunder” and the untitled “Star Wars” movie, read the script and immediately signed on, according to Luther. Waititi is the first Maori to win an Oscar and in his acceptance speech said, “I dedicate this to all the Indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories.” He added, “We are the original storytellers and we can make it here, as well.”
Luther, whose projects highlight the Native experience, is the director-producer of the award-winning documentary, “Miss Navajo,” which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens that same year. It followed the story of a young woman competing in the Miss Navajo beauty pageant. His second documentary feature, “Grab,” premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and aired nationally on public television that same year. In 2018, he launched his web series “alter-NATIVE,” for PBS’ Indie Lens StoryCast.