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Native American sci-fi film screens in Santa Fe theaters

Production took place across the Navajo Nation last June for “Legends in the Sky.”

Production took place across the Navajo Nation last June for “Legends in the Sky.”

SANTA FE, N.M. — Travis Holt Hamilton is facing an uphill battle – but he’s excited about it.

The filmmaker’s latest film, “Legends from the Sky,” is playing at High Ridge and Regal DeVargas in Santa Fe.

The small-budget indie film is playing alongside Oscar-nominated films such as “Selma,” “Still Alice,” “The Theory of Everything” and “The Imitation Game.”

Oh, not to mention that the film is vying for attention with “Cinderella” and “The Divergent Series: Insurgent.”

“These are all films that have a budget for marketing,” he says. “It’s both intimidating to be in the same theater, but it’s also an honor because this film is having some life.”

“Legends from the Sky” is a different kind of film in that it is about Native Americans and is in the science-fiction genre.

The poster for Travis Holt Hamilton’s “Legends from the Sky.”

The poster for Travis Holt Hamilton’s “Legends from the Sky.”

The film follows a Native American veteran, burdened by survivor’s guilt after a disastrous military tour, who is forced to search for his missing grandfather after his ancestral land is mysteriously taken over by an unknown federal organization.

Hamilton says production took place last June with a few pick-up shots later in the summer. The crew filmed across the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Hamilton usually focuses on films that provide a look at contemporary Native Americans. A military veteran as well, Hamilton wrote his first script for a film after returning home from overseas.

In 2007, he released his first Navajo film, “Turquoise Rose.” Since then, he’s released “Blue Gap Boy’z,” “Pete & Cleo” and “More than Frybread.”

While his previous films were in all different genres, he wanted to tackle science fiction.

“I wanted to make a movie that gave me new experience in a film genre that I had never worked in before,” he says. “For a long time, I’ve had an idea to make a Native thriller film. I enjoy science fiction and the suspense genre and this story gave me the opportunity to get in and play with a different style of filmmaking.”

With a quick shoot, Hamilton spent a lot of time working on more than 100 scenes of visual effects.

“I want to be able to see how every facet of this works,” he says. “I’ll consider myself a real filmmaker when I hit my 12th movie or so. Right now, I’m learning from every project I work on. It’s an amazing thing.”

Hamilton says as he was working on the film he stayed in contact with fans via Facebook. It was there that he got the idea to try and screen the film in New Mexico.

The film has already had a successful run in Farmington and Alamogordo, where it ran for a month. In Gallup, the film screened for seven weeks, which is a record for Hamilton.

The film is going on its second week in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe and will open in Seattle later this month.

“I wanted to make a film that audiences, both Native and non-Native would enjoy,” he says. “This is a genre of film I’d love to work with and I don’t know if there’s ever been a science fiction Native-themed movie. I’m hoping the support will continue.”

A scene from “Dead Billy,” which will have a screening at the South Broadway Cultural Center tonight.

A scene from “Dead Billy,” which will have a screening at the South Broadway Cultural Center tonight.

SUPPORT ‘BILLY’: The local independent film “Dead Billy” will have a free screening at 6 tonight at the South Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway SE. The film is the story of Calliope Girard, whose life is full of promise and success; she has a thriving career in academia and a brilliant fiancé who loves her.

But, as her wedding approaches, a series of sudden and unexplained seizures unleash a flood of long-forgotten memories.

Formerly known as Callie, she had been in love once before with a charismatic, volatile and much-older man named Billy.

Now, as she tries to commit to all the possibilities of her bright future, she is compelled to find him. This sends her on a journey into the dark heart of her desire, where she must choose between the apparent love of her life and the seductive lure of her past.

The film was made in New Mexico, Colorado and Los Angeles. There will also be a Q&A session after the screening.

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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