A powerful journey of transformation and hope
In the rugged canyon lands of Northern Arizona, Navajo and Hopi cross-country runners from two rival high schools put it all on the line for tribal pride, triumph over personal adversity, and state championship glory. Win or lose, what they learn in the course of their seasons, will have a dramatic effect on the rest of their lives.
Focusing on five teens living on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, Racing the Rez unfolds over two years of careful, patient observation, and offers a rare view into the surprising complexity and diversity of contemporary reservation life.
Combining interviews with vérité style shooting, the runners and their coaches in Racing the Rez narrate their experiences in their own voice. The camera follows the boys from classrooms to the rez-life realities of remote, un-electrified homes, from grueling runs across canyons and mesas to their ultimate day of reckoning – the state meet – and beyond. Set in the southwest’s iconic desert landscape, this remarkable intersection between sport, culture, youth and adulthood, yields a powerful, intimate documentary of transformation and hope.