Chenango and the Nicholl Fellowship Competition

Six readers gave Chenango reviews in the Nicholl Fellowship competition, this is certainly the best review:

This is a brilliant comedy that examines notions of shamanism, family and cultural heritage through the story of Chet Barnes, an Iroquois/Haudenosanee museum-worker who, after the mummy of a sacred Medicine Man is sold off to a casino, discovers his latent pyrokinetic powers, emboldening him to take a stand for his ancestors and community. 

I found a great deal to be admired about this funny and yet deeply insightful screenplay. Somewhere between a superhero film and a scathing critique of cultural appropriation, this screenplay’s premise felt fresh and exciting. Also effective here was its careful plotting which maintains a steady pace, building a unique world and a diverse community of characters that struck me as honest, nuanced and coming from a knowledgeable perspective.

In this context, the writing also reflects a clear, somewhat irreverent approach that is not only consistent, but also thoroughly amusing. There is a certain confidence of voice here that I found rare. In a similar way, Chet is not a traditional hero, but that is precisely the point. Through his taciturn personality and generous quirks, he comes alive as a genuine individual called upon by higher powers. Moments of social commentary are also included throughout in a meaningful yet subtle fashion that blends well with characterization. This is a film I would absolutely enjoy seeing on the big screen. Bravo!

A number of other readers also had some nice things to say, as well as helpful suggestions on what needed clarification in the story, and a number of them said the exact same thing about one element, so I have found the reviews very helpful.

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