Diné director’s debut film aimed at youth
Albert Haskie was determined to make a film specifically for Diné youth and now it has come to fruition.
“I wanted a film for the youth, Navajo youth, today’s world, the 21st century because there’s hardly any content like that out there,” Haskie said.
Haskie accomplishes his goals with “Yiskáagoo,” his debut film. The film is about a high school student who has just graduated from a reservation school.
“Yiskáagoo” explores the question of what happens after high school.
“We feel lost, we feel stuck, we don’t feel like we’re where we’re supposed to be,” Haskie said. “But that’s what ‘Yiskáagoo’ is supposed to be.”
He prides his film on being completely Navajo made.
“This whole production from the ground up has been Navajos working behind the scenes,” he said.
“Everything from the conception of the idea, the story, the actors, the editing, the post production, the marketing, everything about it is all done by Navajos.”
Haskie is from Lukachukai. He is Áshįįhí, born for Tó aheedlíínii. His maternal grandfather is Tłʼízí łaní and his paternal grandfather is Kinyaa’áanii.
Film for youth
Haskie said films about Native people tend to focus on traumatic pasts and historical family trauma.
Due to this realization, he wanted to tell the story of a Diné student who has graduated.
He believes it is important to tell stories like “Yiskáagoo” because more stories are needed about the present time.
“I think we have enough media today that focuses a lot on the past,” Haskie said. “Sure, there’s still a lot of things that can be touched on but I’d rather focus my attention on the youth today because they’re the ones that need to be heard today.”
He added on that he would have loved seeing a film much like Yiskáagoo while he was growing up his goal was to make that film for the youth today.
“I want to provide that service to the younger generation today so that they feel like they are being heard and understood,” he said.
Haskie even kept Diné youth who grew up within the Navajo Nation in mind for the release of the film.
Before the film’s release, Haskie reached out to the Navajo Nation Museum Director Manuelito Wheeler to ask about showing his film there.
“I’d like to premiere a film here, if possible, because it’s in the heart of the Navajo Nation and it just makes sense,” Haskie said. “I would preferably love to just have showings here and only here, if possible.”
He wanted the showings in Window Rock because it’s near his target audience, which is Diné youth on the Navajo Nation.
“Window Rock is the best bet,” he said.
Haskie hopes that people enjoy the film.
“I did this out of love for my people,” he said. “Sure, I could make some profit off of it but that’s not the point at the end of the day.”
He plans to make more films and he hopes this premiere allows him to do that.
Right now he is working on a Navajo love comedy. He also would like to make a horror film after that one.
“Yiskáagoo” will premiere at the Navajo Nation Museum on Saturday. There will be three showings, the first at 11 a.m., then 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
The showings are free but seating is only limited to 70 people per show.
More information about the film can be found on Instagram at @yiskaagoo_film.