There are a number of popular films that feature food in their titles: "Mystic Pizza," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "American Pie." But frybread?
"Italians are known for spaghetti; Navajos are known for frybread," Holt Hamilton, writer and director of the upcoming film "More Than Frybread" said. "It has kind of become that food that is especially Native-related."
The film is a mockumentary that follows five individuals from different Native American tribes as they compete in a frybread-making competition, and will be having its world premiere at the nearby Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino on Feb. 3.
Hamilton began writing "More Than Frybread" in 2008, and filmed it two years later at a variety of locations around Arizona, such as Flagstaff, Tucson and Peach Springs.
A native of Idaho, Hamilton moved to Arizona 10 years ago and spent some time living on a Navajo reservation, which he claims gave him inspiration for the movie, along with his past three feature films.
"A big part was living on the Navajo reservation and wanting to help tell the stories that are out there," Hamilton said. "I wanted to make people see Natives differently than maybe they do when watching ‘Dances with Wolves' or something that is a little more stereotypical of Native America."
The cast includes Mary Kim Titla, a popular journalist and politician in the Valley, along with dozens of other people from a total of 22 Native American tribes.
"We literally had 20 to 30 people that had never been in a film that now have a resume saying they had speaking parts in a film that will play theatrically," Hamilton said. "We're really about building the Native talent pool, and getting more Native actors out there with experience."
Hamilton says that "More Than Frybread" has already been compared to Christopher Guest films such as "Best In Show" and "Waiting for Guffman," and will be showing at both the Sedona International Film Festival and Durango Independent Film Festival this year.
The movie will also have a theatrical run in the Valley, says Hamilton, who has already begun work on a historical Navajo drama for his next feature film.
Melody Hudson, public relations manager at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, believes that everybody should go out and see "More Than Frybread."
"I think Ahwatukee residents would love to see a movie that keeps them entertained," Hudson said. "They also get the opportunity to explore all the great entertainment at Wild Horse Casino after the movie."
Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino is located at 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd. in Chandler. Visit their website at www.wingilariver.com or call (800) 946-4452 for more information.
To learn more about "More Than Frybread," visit www.frybreadmovie.com, or "like" the film on Facebook.
Hamilton also recommends visiting www.holthamiltontalent.com, which specializes in finding Native American talent.
• Patrick Ryan is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.