Meet #AIFF14 Filmmaker: Sydney Freeland, Director of Drunktown’s Finest

It’s Festival week! Just a few days until #AIFF14 begins. Up next in our Meet the #AIFF14 Filmmaker series, we introduce you to Sydney Freeland, Director of Drunktown’s Finest.
See the film: Thu 4/3 6:40p, Sat 4/5 6:40p, Sun 4/6 10:10a.

Sydney Freeland

Sydney Freeland


How did you get started in filmmaking?
I originally went to college to study painting and drawing. Along the way I was introduced to photography, computer art, computer animation, screenwriting, and ultimately film.

Who inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I don’t know that any one person inspired me to be a filmmaker. The thing that originally attracted me was the process of filmmaking itself. I loved the idea of being able to tell stories, and to be able to do it in a collaborative setting.

If you were a superhero, what would your super filmmaking power be?
Investor mind control.

What is your go to Karaoke tune? (AfterLounge Karaoke Party at Standing Stone Brewing Company, Saturday April 5, starting at 9p) 
Sydney: Anything by George Strait.

If you are attending #AIFF14, what are you looking forward to most in Ashland?
I’m really looking forward to spending some time in Oregon. I was there briefly back in December to work with my composer in Portland. I drive up from California and passed through a bunch of towns (including Ashland). I wanted to stop and explore and now I will actually be able to hang out for a few days.

Sydney talks Drunktown’s Finest: I am from the Navajo Indian reservation. On the reservation poverty is high, alcoholism is rampant, and the unemployment rate hovers at 60%. For a lot of Native Americans, their only means of income is to create artwork to sell to tourists. This is the world I come from. As a child, art was a part of everyday life, but not just for enjoyment and entertainment purposes. A song is a prayer. A painting is a prayer. A story is a prayer. And prayer is how we communicate with our Creator. I too want to communicate, but I want to do it through the medium I know best: film. Until now my artistic life and my indigenous life have been two worlds that I’ve kept separate. I see Drunktown’s Finest as a way to bring them together.

Purchase tickets to Drunktown’s Finest.