[ONE NIGHT ONLY, DIRECTOR ATTENDING] Survival Prayer is exactly what its title suggests: a cinematic Hail Mary. The documentary, directed by the Bellingham-based director Benjamin Greene, details and ultimately advocates for the threatened traditional practices of the inhabitants of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago located off the coast of British Columbia. The crux of the islanders’ plight is primal and might hold particular appeal for sustainability-loving Pacific Northwest audiences: Inhabitants of the isles, past and present, have lived largely off the land but have begun to feel the effects of modern plagues, including overfishing and -logging. Although interviews with locals provide an overview of the environmental changes, Survival Prayer thankfully doesn’t spend as much time explicating the problem as it does silently observing Haida Gwaii’s people and their practices. Greene captures extreme close-ups of faces, or of hands foraging for wild edibles or gathering seaweed. They’re elegantly filmed sequences, often accompanied by natural sounds of birdsong and ocean. In capturing the specific beauty and rhythms of this corner of the world, the film itself becomes an act of preservation.
- Genres: Adventure, Documentary
- Running Time: 70 minutes
- Country: United States
- Language: English
- Critic's Score: B+
- Directed by: Benjamin Greené [Director], Benjamin Greené [Producer], Michael Beharie [Original Music], Benjamin Greené [Cinematographer], Paul Lamm [Film Editor]
- Watch the trailer