Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life
"You've got to leave a space in your life for life to happen"
Native American singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is best known for her protest songs ( Universal Soldier ) and love songs ( Up Where We Belong ). Her story begins in the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene and takes audiences through forty years of transformation, showing how she challenged convention to become a popular songwriter, digital artist, and spokesperson for Native rights. Viewers witness Buffy's transformation from a baby born on a reserve in rural Canada in 1941 and adopted into a working class American family, into an international celebrity who builds a bridge of understanding between her two worlds.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, as one of the most influential Aboriginal figures in recent historic times, is undisputedly a gifted performer and songwriter, a role model, an innovator and a respected educator and activist. She has written hundreds of songs, scored numerous films, established educational initiatives across North America, was a regular on Sesame Street, pioneered in the early digital platforms both musically and visually, received a medal from Queen Elizabeth II and won an Academy Award. Yet, until now, there has never been a major written or visual documentary of this multi-faceted human being.
Privileged access to Buffy's life backstage, on reserves, and at her home in Hawaii, paints a personal portrait of an extraordinary person. The documentary shows Buffy's emergence on the scene as a shy young singer and follows her as she progresses as a talented songwriter and effective spokesperson for Native rights whose strong political stance and growing popularity resulted in the banning of her music on American airwaves.Buffy's enduring career gives us the opportunity to follow her vibrant life today and mixes current performance footage, with archival ones, including a 1964 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival and the induction of her song Universal Soldier into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. Interviews with family, friends and her music contemporaries include Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Bill Cosby, Taj Mahal, Steppenwolf's John Kay, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Sylvia Tyson and Eric Andersen.