Films by Kathryn Ferguson

Screenings and Awards

The Unholy Tarahumara: feature length documentary

The Unholy Tarahumara" is a non-traditional film about people losing their traditions. In Mexico's vast Copper Canyon live the Tarahumara Indians. Ferguson films the life of two families, one that maintains tradition, one that moves toward the dangling carrot of modern life. An unusually intimate film of the Tarahumara, she shows a stark, literal world, as well as voices of Storyteller, a chorus of Gossip, and past mythological figures. Contradicting the notion that the Tarahumara are shy people, we are introduced to talkative Tarahumara women as they share intimacies from private lives.

Festivals, Screenings, Awards:

1.   Arizona International Film Festival: Tucson, Arizona, April 1998

      Audience Favorite Award

2.    Berlin Museum of Anthropology Ethno Filmfest, Berlin, Germany, June 1999

3.  Red Earth Native American Film Festival, Oklahoma 1999

           4.  Maine International Film Festival: Waterville, Maine, July 1998

           5.  Windy City International Documentary Festival: Chicago, Illinois.  Sponsored by    Columbia College Chicago, The International Documentary Association, and Harmony International Documentary Project.

  6.     Parnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival: Parnu, Estonia,            June 1998

7.     Open Film Festival: Budapest, Hungary, August 1998

8.     Festival Internacional de Cinema Figueira da Foz: Figueira da Foz, Portugal, Sept. 1998.        27th Annual International Festival.

          9.     International Documentary Film Festival Market “Docs for Sale”: Amsterdam   Nov.1998

10.  Saguaro Film Festival: Phoenix, Arizona, April 1998. Award: Best Documentary

          11.  Houston International Film Festival: Houston, Texas, April 1998. Award: Bronze Award

12. Cine Latino Film Festival, September, 1999 Tucson, AZ


Rita of the Sky: feature length documentary

“Rita of the Sky” is a documentary about a mysterious woman who was erroneously placed in a Kansas mental institution because her unrecognized native language was described as “guttural noises” of a mentally ill person. Since she spoke no English, she was declared mentally ill and sent to a Kansas mental hospital for 10 years. 


Rita of the Sky, a gem of magical simplicity, will come upon you like Native Medicine. Each subtle, seen-heard-and-unheard detail, renders an allegorical perspective of indigenous cosmology and traditional meaning which, like Rita today, remains alive but incommunicable from effects of another culture’s ‘medicine.’ Experience this film many times to fully open up your spirit.” - Mary Redhouse, Dine’ (Navajo), Native vocalist and musician, 2005 Grammy Nominee

“…. Overall, the case of Rita is morally, legally, and culturally profound - truly the stuff of legend.” - Brandon Specktor, Arizona Daily Wildcat Film Review, 2009

Festivals, Screenings, Awards:

1.     Arizona International Film Festival: Two Awards: 1. Best of Arizona 2. Best Feature        Documentary (Tucson) 2009

2.     Boston Latino Independent Film Festival (Boston) 2009

3.     Cherokee International Film Festival: Best Documentary (Oklahoma) 2009

4.     LA Femme Film Festival (Los Angeles) 2009

5.     Kansas City Film Festival (Kansas City) 2010

6.     Festival Internacional de Cine, Álamos Mágico (International Film Festival, Magic Alamos)     Festival Featured Film 2011 (Álamos, Sonora, Mexico)

7.     Arivaca Film Festival (Arivaca, AZ) 2014

Sponsored by the University of Arizona Confluence for Creative Inquiry and the Arizona International Film Festival, The Unholy Tarahumara and Rita of the Sky were selected for the AZ 100 INDIE FILM book, a book of 100 films selected to celebrate the 2012 Centennial of Arizona Statehood.