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Premiere film screening and Gwa'wina traditional dance presentation
In the Land of the Head Hunters

Date: Thursday, June 5, 2008
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

The recently restored landmark 1914 film In the Land of the Head Hunters by photographer and filmmaker Edward Curtis is presented in its premiere screening on the stage of the Getty Center with a live arrangement of the original score and traditional dance presentation by the Gwa'wina dancers of Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) First Nations. The first feature-length film to exclusively star indigenous North Americans, this romantic melodrama set before the arrival of Europeans features love, war, and ritual among the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia, who performed in Curtis's scripted version of their past.

In the Land of the Head Hunters

On its premiere in 1914, the silent film was accompanied by an orchestral score composed by John J. Braham, best known for his work with Gilbert and Sullivan. Both the score and the film were later nearly entirely lost. The manuscript of Braham's score is held in the collections of the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute, where it was recently identified by University of British Columbia postdoctoral fellow Aaron Glass during his dissertation research. The film, which was restored by Jere Guldin, film preservationist, UCLA Film & Television Archive, has now been reunited with its original orchestral score and informed by descendants of the original Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations cast. The performance edition of the score, developed by David Gilbert of the UCLA Music Library, is performed live by the UCLA Philharmonia, conducted by Neal Stulberg.

Following the screening, the Gwa'wina dancers of the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations, who are descendants of the film actors, present inherited songs and dances represented in the film.

Old Images / New Views, a related digital photo exhibition of Edward Curtis's work, will be on display in the lobby of the Harold M. Williams Auditorium on the evening of the film screening.

For more information on the Curtis film project, visit

Related Symposium
The screening is presented in conjunction with the symposium Documents of an Encounter: Edward Curtis and the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations, held at the Getty Center on Thursday, June 5, and Friday, June 6, with an optional visit to the Museum of the American West, Autry National Center on Saturday, June 7. The symposium examines a variety of themes related to In the Land of the Head-Hunters and Curtis's work.

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.

Jonathan Henderson of the Gwa'wina dancers

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