Bennie Klain is a filmmaker at the height of his film direction prowess. Primarily working in documentary formats, he challenges himself with projects that bridge Native concerns and social commentary, highlighting universal themes and cultural inequities, and bringing voice to Native communities on their own terms. Bennie worked in radio prior to moving to film and he possesses keen insight into narrative storytelling. He is described as one of North America’s best Native documentarians and his voice has evolved its own distinctive language, known for its objectivity and its sensitivity to the subject matter.
Two of his films have received major broadcast time on PBS: Weaving Worlds is a pivotal exploration of Navajo weavers and their relationship to trading posts and buyers. The interplay of this relationship is witnessed through several generations of Navajo weavers, who (speaking Dine’) relate their histories through the wool sheared from their own sheep herds. Columbus Day Legacy focuses on the controversial 2007 centennial Columbus Day parade in Denver, where the holiday originated, stridently investigating both sides of the debate in interviews with Native protesters and Italian Americans who host the parade. This film recently received the award for “Best Documentary Short” at the American Indian Film Festival. He currently has public television funding from ITVS (Independent Television Service) and NAPT (Native American Public Telecommunications) for his new film Roadman which will explore the origins and complexities of the Native American Church (NAC) through the lens of practicing Navajo Roadmen, telling the story of a contemporary journey that highlights the balance struck between traditional Native and western values and the widely misunderstood plant, peyote, used by indigenous peoples striving for full religious, cultural, and political freedoms.