Just got back from the DOXA film fest in Vancouver. Here is a review in the Georgia Strait:
 This film relates the efforts of a Tlingit man, Cory Mann, to negotiate between survival in the world’s economy as an entrepreneur and retention of his cultural identity as a member of the Thunderbird Clan. His business travels take him across the Pacific to various Asian countries, but the lure of smoking fish draws him to abandon his office in Juneau and spend a couple of summer months smoking fish among relatives near Klukwan, Alaska. There at the fish camp, “all the world is alive,” whereas, “down in the United States only people are alive.” Moreover, when you are smoking fish, “the past, present, and future are all the same.”
 The message of the film is casually presented by way of Cory Mann’s participation in traditional life—fishing with his nephew, using a canoe and a long net; cutting up the fish so that they can be hung on poles and placed in the smoke house; repairing and reconstructing the smoke house; participating in ceremonial dancing; along with an offhand, almost humorous, personal commentary about the significance of these activities. We hear that the Tlingit, after the arrival of Europeans, became half Christian and half salmon-worshipper, and, if you run into bears, talk to them since they also belong to the Thunderbird Clan. Because of the casual style by which Cory Mann serves as the cultural broker, the varied scenes of Tlingit cultural life begin to seem natural rather than exotic. When the comment is make that the smoke house serves as a family haven, the statement seems perfectly understandable, and the viewer may wish he or she could also take refuge there.
 Cory’s aunt has a gift for delivering deliberate and genuinely profound commentary affirming traditional Tlingit understanding of matters. At the same time, this aunt has a husband who is an Italian immigrant, and who appears on screen as someone who is happily and seamlessly integrated into Tlingit life. You cannot script such unexpected factors, and it is the unscripted style of “Smokin’ Fish” that captivates the viewer and validates a Tlingit worldview as religiously appropriate in this modern moment.
Snowed in by a mega storm that closed down Haines, local author Heather Lende spent a morning with her husband watching Smokin’ Fish. Judging by her blog poste I think she liked it.
And here is an excerpt.
Smokin’ Fish is the story of a young, modern Tlingit guy (Cory) and his life and culture, told by him without pretense in a thoroughly fresh, funny, wise, and sweet way with some great supporting characters– especially Sally, her husband Val the Italian and a chatty little boy– but I don’t want to spoil it– It was so good, so perfectly of and about the essence of Haines and Klukwan and even Juneau that it woke me up like bright sunshine in the window. I think I smiled the whole time. Please watch it, order a copy, share it with friends, send it out as Christmas gifts. (They should have it at the Sheldon Museum, and the bookstore, so check there if you are in Haines, to shop locally first.) I didn’t even mind missing Morning Muscles. Watching Smokin’ Fish is great exercise for the Alaskan– or for that matter any– soul. Best yet, I realized that Cory is my neighbor. This old fishing cabin at the crossroads is his family place.
A new documentary scheduled to begin airing on PBS stations across the country in November highlights the personal struggles and humor of a Tlingit man as he journeys to his home village of Klukwan, Alaska to smoke salmon.
Klamath-Trinity residents know well that it’s not easy to smoke fish, especially large quantities. Smoking fish means mending or creating gear, catching the fish and preparing it for the smokehouse, smoking then storing. Oh, and don’t forget the work of building and maintaining a smoke house. Families in Klukwan, Alaska could process as much as 7,000 fish each, every year.
To read the entire article, please click the link below:
Another local review, this time in the Juneau Empire
By Amy Fletcher
When Cory Mann returned to Southeast Alaska from San Diego, where his Tlingit mother had taken him as a little boy, he was at first frightened by the immense expanse of wilderness around him — not because he found it quiet and sparsely populated compared to the city, but because he knew it was the opposite.
“The whole world is alive (in Southeast),” Mann says in “Smokin’ Fish,” a new locally produced film in which he is the featured narrator. “In San Diego the only thing alive was the people.”
A very positive local review:
When Luke Griswold-Tergis and Cory Mann first came up with the idea to make a movie back in 2005, they thought it would be easy.
“We had a nice video camera, a laptop, and we thought, ‘We’ll shoot it over the summer and then we’ll party like rock stars,” said Griswold-Tergis, who lives in Haines. “The ‘partying like rock stars’ has yet to come.”
After five years of work, however, the effort has paid off. The recently completed “Smokin’ Fish” is heading out to screens big and small this year, with local showings in Haines and Juneau, as well as an upcoming national airing on PBS and appearances at film festivals, including the Mill Valley Film Festival in California.