Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Frybread Face & Me - What We Know So Far

When multi-hyphenate megastar Taika Waititi won the 2020 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "Jojo Rabbit," the Maori filmmaker hoped his victory would inspire Native kids to follow in his footsteps. "I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories," Waititi said in his acceptance speech. "We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well" (via CNN).

Since then, Waititi has championed Native-led projects. He co-created and co-wrote the FX sitcom "Reservation Dogs," about four Indigenous kids growing up on an Oklahoma reservation, which premiered in Aug. 2021. And now, Waititi is behind another project that's aiming to give Native stories better representation in Hollywood: "Frybread Face & Me," an upcoming coming-of-age drama by writer-director Billy Luther — who told Variety that Waititi signed on immediately after reading the script.

Here's everything we know about "Frybread Face & Me."

What is the release date for Frybread Face & Me?

"Frybread Face & Me" doesn't yet have a premiere date. It also doesn't yet have a distributor, which means we won't know for some time when and where it might be available. But the good news is, the film is relatively far along in the production process.

As reported by The Navajo-Hopi Observer, filming for "Frybread Face & Me" wrapped in late Aug. 2021, after shooting in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Española, New Mexico.

On Sept. 21, Deadline announced that the film had secured financing, in a deal between Chad Burris' Indion Entertainment and Charles D. King's Macro, as well as River Road and REI Co-op Studios.

"We cannot measure our gratitude for the support and encouragement the film has received from our partners," Burris said. "Equally immeasurable is the value these dynamic partners bring collectively through their commitment to uplifting underrepresented voices and perspectives. Their shared enthusiasm is apparent in the projects they choose to champion and the reason they are great partners for this film."

Who is in the cast of Frybread Face & Me?

"Frybread Face & Me" has an all-Native cast with several first-time actors as well as some familiar faces. Keir Tallman plays the lead, Benny, in his first feature film role. Sarah H. Natani plays his grandmother Lorraine, Kahara Hodges plays his Aunt Ann, and Charley Hogan plays his cousin, Fry. These are the first feature film roles for Tallman, Natani, Hodges, and Hogan (via Deadline). 

Rounding out the cast are Martin Sensmeier ("The Magnificent Seven," "Rutherford Falls") as Benny's Uncle Marvin, MorningStar Angeline ("Yellowstone," "Outer Range") as Benny's mother, and Jeremiah Bitsui, who played Victor on both "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," will be playing Benny's Uncle Roger.  

"Frybread Face & Me" is written, directed, and executive produced by Indigenous filmmaker Billy Luther (Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo). 

What is the plot of Frybread Face & Me?

"Frybread Face & Me" is a semi-autobiographical "Indigenous coming-of-age" tale written and directed by Billy Luther. 

The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Benny who is sent to a Navajo reservation to live with his grandmother against his will. However, the experience both lets him connect with his family as well as helps him get in touch with his Indigenous culture (via Deadline). Benny spends much of the movie working on his grandmother's Arizona ranch herding sheep alongside his cousin, Fry (via Variety). 

The project was one of 10 which was selected for the 2020 Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs, of which Luther is a graduate. 

Like Luther's other projects, "Frybread Face & Me" will explore themes of Indigenous identity, which has traditionally been underrepresented in Hollywood. His first film was the documentary "Miss Navajo," about a woman competing in a Navajo beauty pageant, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. That was followed by the 2011 documentary feature "Grab," which explores the traditional Grab Day observed on villages in the Laguna Pueblo reservation, when residents throw food and water from their rooftops to people standing below (via IMDB). In 2018, he directed the webseries "alter-NATIVE" for PBS' Indie Lens StoryCast.