Friday, June 13, 2008


About “AH-HOS-TEEND (Retired)”
Directors and scriptwriters: Chris Kientz and Shonie De La Rosa
Crew includes: Film makers Antonio Hernandez, Bill McCamey and Mark Vasconcellos, 20 DACC students, special effects by Aaron Berger
Funded by: National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute
Produced by: Dona Ana Community College
Length: 26 minutes, possible feature-length film later
Stars: Ernie Tsosie and Gerald Vandever
The plot:
Where do the spirits go when they are no longer remembered? And who shepherds them back to their native land? “Retired” is a short film that employs the conceit of a world where gods still live and die among men to explore questions of individual belief and cultural identity as well as the mystery and meaning of faith. The script is written by award-winning Cherokee animator Chris Kientz and Navajo filmmaker Shonie De La Rosa.
Two men are revealed to be much more than they initially seem. First there is Nameless, a young Native American man obviously lost and searching to understand who he is, as well as remember his name and his purpose in living. This quest to find out who he is begins at the Glittering World Casino, where he is strangely compelled to play the slots. He hits the jackpot, but fails to attain the revelation he is seeking. He’s thrown out of the casino and taken to the Running Indian truck stop nearby. There he meets Pete, who appears to be little more than an old man as lost as Nameless. But Pete is hardly lost, and more importantly, he knows the true nature of what Nameless is, and what he is really searching for. By the end of the film both Nameless and Pete find what they are looking for in the strangest of places.

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — Nationally-known filmmakers, actors and animators are joining local students to create “AH-HOS-TEEND (Retired)”, described as a “contemporary fantasy film,” being shot this month at several locations around Las Cruces and at White Sands and Akela Flats.
It’s the first narrative feature film made by Doña Ana Community College and its Film Tech Training Program students.
Directors and writers for the project are Las Cruces’ award-winning animation director Chris Kientz, whose “Raven Tales” series based on American Indian legends has garnered worldwide attention, and Navajo film maker Shonie De La Rosa. De La Rosa’s latest film, “Mile Post 398,” made with his wife Andee, won five awards and has been screened at several film festivals.
“The film will feature an all-student crew. Navajo comedian Ernie Tsosie and veteran screen actor Gerald Vandever will be the lead actors and the film also will feature the production talent of local film makers Antonio Hernandez, Bill McCamey and Mark Vasconcellos and special effects by Aaron Berger,” Kientz said. “The film will employ over 20 full time students from DACC and Eastern New Mexico University, all of whom will earn union hours toward a full-time career in New Mexico’s burgeoning film industry.”
Kientz said the 26-minute film is the first segment of a larger script and if all goes well, he hopes it can eventually be extended to become a full-length feature film.
“AH-HOS-TEEND,” a Navajo word referring to an elder, is set in “a world where gods still live and die among men to explore questions of individual belief and cultural identity as well as the mystery and meaning of faith,” according to material furnished by the filmmakers.
The film chronicles the spiritual quest of “Nameless” (Vandever), a young man who drifts from a casino to a truck stop where he meets an elderly man named Pete (Tsosie), who is crucial to his journey.
Kientz said Vandever is an award-winning actor whose credits include “Mile Post 398,” “Black Cloud,” “Dark Wind” and the TV feature, “Skinwalker,” based on the Tony Hillerman mystery.
The film is being funded by National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institute.
“It’s part of National Geographic’s All Roads project, which specializes in films made by indigenous people,” said Kientz, who estimates the budget for the film is about $20,000.
Regional locations include White Sands and Akela Flats Casino and in Las Cruces, at Ranchway BBQ, at the strip mall on El Paseo and Idaho, and other sites around town.
“The shoots went so well, I hope we can do credit to them with our special effects, which will probably take about six months to finish,” Kientz said.
The schedule calls for a local premiere here in December. Filmmakers hope to enter “Retired” in several film festivals, including the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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