BETHEL, Alaska — A 40-year-old film about Yup’ik culture has been digitally restored to brighten its picture.

The restored version of “The Drums of Winter” is being shown around the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta, KYUK-AM reported ( ) this week.

The film is a documentary shot in Emmonak. It had taken three years to restore the film.

Digitization has deepened the colors and brought light where there were shadows, co-producer and director Len Kamerling said.

The film is considered a significant contribution to American culture and has a home in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.

It had been an experiment starting out. Kamerling and then-Emmonak resident Sarah Elder had wanted to make a documentary with no narrator, no English voiceovers and no one interpreting.

“We set out to make films that we called ‘community collaborative films,'” Kamerling said. “And one door after another opened … And we were brought into that world of the qasiq and the dance.”

Watching the restored film has allowed descendants to relive their culture, and even see relatives who have died.

“Walkie Charles, who was our main language adviser and coordinator, he’s from Emmonak,” Kamerling said. “And when we showed a scene in the qasiq, what used to be dark shadow now was illuminated, and he could see his father there, his father who had passed away. So that was a really wonderful thing.”

One of the young men in the film is now a dance instructor in Emmonak. He was able to watch himself from 40 years ago when the film was shown in a Yukon village last week.

Information from: KYUK-AM,

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