The Navajo Film Unit

Sol Worth did not continue his involvement with his students, or the Navajo community, after the completion of the project. However, both his and Richard Chalfen’s field notes include lengthy descriptions of and plans to create a Navajo Film Unit in Pine Springs or Window Rock.

Susie Benally teaches her mother, Alta Kahn, to use the camera.

The premise of this project was to train a group of Navajo filmmakers who would make documentary-style films for the Navajo Nation, and potentially other tribes. Originally, Worth planned for Johnny Nelson, Susie Benally, and Al Clah to be teachers. Chalfen would also work for the film unit, and they would all be supervised by Worth and John Adair.

While the Film Unit never came to fruition, Worth developed ideas for it throughout the project. This influenced the ways in which he interacted with the students, and what he asked of them. For example, one of his reasons for requesting that Benally teach her mother, Alta Kahn to make a film in order to assess her aptitude for teaching filmmaking in the Navajo language. Adair  remained invested in the idea of the Navajo Film Unit, eventually moving temporarily to Pine Springs to pursue it.

  • Bev Rogers

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    Bev