'Monster Slayer' shown, minus the monsters

(Courtesy photo)

Indian Wells, Ariz. was one of the shooting locations for the Monster Slayer project.

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

GALLUP, Dec. 19, 2013

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(Courtesy photos)

TOP: Monster Slayer Project’s character Coyote, played by Dempsey Chapito, overlooks the horizon on set at Indian Wells, Ariz.

BOTTOM: Shelby Dayzie plays the Monster Slayer Project’s Shondiin Yazzie, the film’s main character.

It's been a long battle for Monster Slayer.

After two years of planning, fundraising, casting and shooting, the crew for "The Monster Slayer Project" has finally completed a rough cut of their short film, and the community was eager to see it. More than 100 people attended the screening at the El Morro Theater on Dec. 15. They also featured a few short films from local film makers.

"The Monster Slayer Project" is a contemporary visual retelling of the story of the Navajo Hero Twins, Monster Slayer and Born for Water. The film explores who these figures might be in today's world, and what foes they might face.

Director Kjell Boersma said he was happy to share the film with the community. He admits that there were some points during the process that he felt they weren't going to make it.

"I was like, 'OK, we gave it a good try,' but to have it in the can, it looks really good and it just feels awesome to have done it," Boersma said, adding that they started shooting the film at the end of July at the conclusion of their indiegogo campaign. They were on location for five days, shooting around the Gallup area, Oak Springs, Ariz. and Indian Wells, Ariz.

"The rough cut is fascinating; it's very close to being complete," Producer Renaldo Chapman said, adding that they are just pending special effects funding, which is one of the reasons why they had the showing. "We absolutely know people will enjoy it."

"It will be original to a story that they can all relate to culturally," Chapman said of Monster Slayer, adding that the story is about endurance. "It's set in current time and related traditional lessons from the past."

Chapman added this this is a contemporary narrative that highlights traditional stories by bringing them back to life.

"We just want to see if we're actually making people react," said writer Denny Spencer of the rough cut showing.

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