Director and writer Morrisa Maltz applied for and received the inaugural North Texas Pioneer Film Grant in 2018 for The Unknown Country, a Narrative Feature in production. Subsequently, Maltz applied in 2019 for the North Texas Pioneer Film Grant and received the funds for the Narrative Feature in post-production.
The debut feature from Maltz began the film festival circuit in 2022, starting with the World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in the Visions category (March) and the Bentonville Film Festival in the Competition Narrative Features category (June). I attended both film festivals, which “is a globally recognized platform amplifying female, non-binary, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and people with disabilities’ voices in entertainment.” The film screened at the BAMcinemaFest ’22 and others in the US, France, Canada, and Spain.
This week, the film is currently offered for viewing at the AFS Cinema for the theatrical experience. We will update the news as it gets further released later this year. Tickets: austinfilm.org
From AFS: A personal reverie summoned from a beguiling mix of fact and fiction, THE UNKNOWN COUNTRY is an arresting debut feature from AFS-supported filmmaker Morrisa Maltz.
Synopsis: Reeling from a devastating loss, Tana (Lily Gladstone) is pulled back into the world by an unexpected invitation to her cousin’s wedding. She packs up her late grandmother’s Cadillac and hits the open road, driving from her home in Minnesota to South Dakota. After reconnecting with her Oglala Lakota family, Tana retraces a surreal journey that her grandmother took decades ago, searching for the spot captured in an old family photograph. As she travels, Tana finds connection in the stories of everyday people who’ve settled down far off the main roads, including Isaac (Raymond Lee), who provides a pivotal clue to understanding the lost location that could cultivate closure.
Starring Lily Gladstone, Raymond Lee, Richard Ray Whitman, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Devin Shangreaux, Jasmine “Jazzy” Bearkiller Shangreaux, Pam Richter, Dale Leander Toller, Florence R. Perrin, Teresa Boyd
USA, 2023, 1h 26min
Source: AFS, SXSW, Bentonville, and BAMcinemafest