I knew going into it that this story cannot be summarized in one hour. It was hard to articulate. Our history is complex. Our cultural evolution is even more complex. So I tried to seek one voice, one story, to tell among the Diné youth. What came out were my thoughts about the reservation interwoven with the insights of traditional medicine men explaining Sa’ah Naagháí Bi’keh Hózhóón. And it was all squished into twenty minutes. So I was ambitious to say the least. There are other elements that need to be included for this film to be complete. There is a paralyzed man’s story that needs to be told. As well as kid who was attacked and stabbed for his CDs. Senseless violence that our young men are living through. What is circulating right now is a limited version.

When someone writes their first book or screenplay, I can imagine it is largely catharses. Their individual experiences come flooding out. This first film for me is the same way. I needed to answer an inner question or let out a personal opinion. The fundamental difference I feel between the great masters of art and mediocre artistry is that the master has been able to move through the catharsis. They didn’t dwell or wallow in their personal baggage. They were a vehicle of expression and communicated the unseen. Beauty. The unimaginable. Love. Our culture. These are things that fill us. I am simply learning one medium that has ignited new aspects of myself and helps me to fulfill the uniqueness that we each seek to do. So perhaps one day I will learn the craft of filmmaking.

Recently, Sa’ah screened at the Sedona Film Festival and this experience offered a great introduction to another indigenous filmmaker, and hopefully an eventual collaboration in the future. And more importantly, it reinforced our commitment to our communities to share our vision, influences, and why we strive to bridge the cultural gap. The American Indian Film Festival held in San Francisco in November brings together the best of North America each year to recognize their contribution to cinema. And there is something deeply magical when indigenous peoples get together and network and support one another.

I haven’t fully comprehended the direction I am going in or the stories I will tell. It’s as if I have been traveling by car and now the terrain asks that I switch to a boat. I am ready for change.


Sarah Del Seronde is the daughter of a Diné mother and French father. Her bi-cultural identity shaped her educational pursuits, interests in travel and global indigenous peoples, and the desire to be a bridge between cultures. She obtained her master’s degree from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in the American Indian Studies program in 2000.

After completing the first year of filmmaking, her first short entitled Sa’ah was selected to open at the 30th Annual American Indian Film Institute Festival. She is currently enrolled in an advance filmmaking program in Sedona, Arizona. Upon completion of the film program, she intends to continue to capture the magic of the individual human experience through documentaries.