Films

Where God Likes to Be

Anna and Nicolas Hudak
2014 | 71 minutes | Germany, US, Blackfeet Nation
New York Premiere | Directors in Attendance

Where God Likes to Be focuses on three young protagonists full of hope and promise—Andi Running Wolf, Edward Tailfeathers, and Douglas Fitzgerald—following them over the course of a summer that marks a turning point in all of their lives. Each grapples with whether to leave, pursuing opportunities far from home, or stay behind with friends and family potentially struggling with limited opportunity and marginalization. A picture emerges of the reservation as a cherished home that nurtures identity.

Co-presented by Film and Video Center, National Museum of the American Indian

Past Forward, My Perspective

"The Blackfeet tribe is one of the very few American Indian communities who still live on their ancestral land. In setting out to make WHERE GOD LIKES TO BE this was a major factor in attracting us to this particular reservation and its people. Rather than analyze their cultures and customs we wanted to look at how a place affects the people who live there and in particular why the individuals we met felt a need to be on the reservation despite the struggles and hardships that come with life there today. 

Sadness about the past and generational grief are still very present among the Blackfeet we met and the young people we filmed with saw their upbringing on a reservation as an obstacle. There is immense poverty, violence and alcoholism. The weather is harsh and there are few opportunities for young people to make a living. However, the reservation has other facets to it that go largely ignored by the rest of the world. We chose to focus on the generation of Blackfeet youth that are now coming into their own and we also chose to focus on stories of hope.

Over time we discovered that the label of misfortune that is associated with reservation life is created largely by the way the rest of the country perceives Native American reservations. In mainstream media coming from a reservation is often portrayed as a hindrance to success in life, a stereotype that instills shame and keeps young people from being confident when going into the world. This is an image that comes more from outside the reservation than from within its borders. 

We observed that our protagonists were able to leave much of the heartache and the imposed stereotypes behind. In our view this was essential for them as they set their life path. We saw that they drew strength from the deep connectedness to their home, often found their reason for being in it or developed a drive to bring knowledge back home and better the lives of people who live there. A sentence we often heard when making WHERE GOD LIKES TO BE was: “It is important to know who you are and where you come from in order to know where you are going.” To the people we met this meant embracing their traditional way of life and using it as a guiding light. 

One conclusion we came to after spending the better part of a year on the Blackfeet reservation was that culture and tradition is paramount to defining human uniqueness in a more and more homogenized world. We felt inspired by the Blackfeet people who hold on to their identity, their way of thinking and their ancestral stories and use these things to guide them in the modern day. Ultimately, making them stronger, wiser and more complete as people, carrying something with them that most of us have lost - or never possessed in the first place."

- Anna and Nicolas Hudak | Directors, Where God Likes to Be