Navajo filmmakers sign deal for project with Sony Music

Kody Dayish says multimedia project will be released in March

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Navajo independent filmmaker Kody Dayish, who has been drawing large crowds around New Mexico and Arizona for screenings of his debut feature "The Red Hogaan," has signed a deal with Sony Music for what he described as a small project that will be released in March.

Dayish said he and his siblings, Kolette and Kolin, who are his partners in his company, Kody Dayish Productions, were approached by Sony representatives about the deal in early January after they announced they had arranged screenings of "The Red Hogaan" in theaters throughout New Mexico and Arizona. The horror film — which was produced in 2017 but never released theatrically until now — is a tale about a Navajo family that is menaced by a skinwalker while driving its sheep herd up a mountain.

"It was amazing," Dayish, a Shiprock native, said of the reaction to the news that the film was headed to theaters. "People started calling for podcast interviews, then, out of nowhere, we got a call from the Sony people asking for a meeting."

He and his siblings completed their part of the multimedia project shortly before "The Red Hogaan" was screened in Kayenta on Jan. 15, Dayish said.

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Members of the cast and crew, including Kody Dayish, third from right, pose behind the merchandise table during a screening of the film "The Red Hogaan" at the Animas 10 cinema in Farmington on Feb. 12.

Dayish said he could not reveal the nature of the project or any of its particulars. But he did say it was related to "The Red Hogaan" and will be released by Sony sometime this month.

"It did involve what we do as filmmakers and what 'The Red Hogaan' is all about," he said. "And it's really focused on Navajo traditions and what we've covered in our movies."

While he's not sure how much attention the Sony Music project will bring to him and his siblings, Dayish said the fact that such a large company reached out to them to collaborate was validation enough.

"It felt like an honor to get some recognition for all the hard work we've been putting into our movies," he said.

Jacylynn Mae Charles, the youngest member of the cast, autographs posters after a screening of "The Red Hogaan" in Farmington on Feb. 12.

Dayish's film has fared well in its limited release in theaters in Farmington, Albuquerque and Gallup in New Mexico, and in Kayenta, Phoenix and Tuba City in Arizona. Dayish said the two screenings in Farmington on Feb. 12 were especially well attended, resulting in sellouts for both shows in a 232-seat auditorium at the Animas 10 cinema at the Animas Valley Mall.

Demand was higher than the number of seats available, he said, resulting in some folks having to go home disappointed. The same situation arose during the screening in Albuquerque, he said.

Additional screenings are being planned around the Southwest, he said, adding that another Albuquerque showing is likely, along with screenings in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, Nevada, even California. Dayish said the success he has had in drawing crowds for the film have made it easier to get theater owners to return his calls.

"Yes, definitely," he said. "Now, it's starting to get rolling."

Previously:Horror film made by Navajo siblings finally arrives in theaters

The next step, he hopes, is striking a deal with a streaming service to have "The Red Hogaan" distributed digitally.

"We're really hoping that happens," he said, adding that he and his siblings are making a plan to attract the interest of officials at such services as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.