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ATTLA tells the gripping but little-known story of George Attla, an Alaska Native dogsled racer who, with one good leg and fierce determination, rose to international fame and became a legendary sports hero. Part dog whisperer, ingenious businessman, and teenage heartthrob, George defied characterization during a unique period of history when Western education, economics, and culture penetrated the Alaskan village lifestyle and forever changed the state with the discovery of oil in the late 1960s. ATTLA interweaves George’s story into the final chapter of his life, as he emerges from retirement to train his twenty-year-old grandnephew, Joe, to restore a village tradition by competing in the world’s largest sprint dogsled race.

Harvard University | Philip J. Deloria, Professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies & Chair, Committee on Degrees in History and Literature
"A visually compelling, beautifully-told story of courage, charisma, and intergenerational apprenticeship, Attla explores the bonds that tie together multiple generations, humans and their animals, and the power of indigenous culture work across Alaska."

Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Andy Horbal, University of Maryland Libraries
"Although this is definitely a film about George Attla, the final ten minutes belong to Joe Bifelt. [...] It’s the perfect note to end on for a film that is clearly just as interested in the impact that Attla will continue to have on his community in the future through the people he influenced as it is in his storied past."

Native American and Indigenous Studies | Thomas Michael Swensen, Assistant Professor in the Division of Ethnic Studies in the School of Cultural and Social Transformation at the University of Utah
"Attla stands as a worthy outing, as a singular story to watch, or as complementary to a 1979 semibiographical film about George called The Spirit of the Wind. I recommend Attla to anyone who holds an interest in Alaska and intergenerational knowledge."


Main credits

Axley, Catharine (film director)
Axley, Catharine (film producer)
Axley, Catharine (editor of moving image work)
Langer, Melissa (film producer)
Stolakis, Kristine (film producer)
Attla, George (on-screen participant)
Bifelt, Joe (on-screen participant)
Fritch, William Ryan (composer)

Other credits

Editor: Catharine Axley; original music by William Ryan Fritch.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Native American Studies
U.S. History
American Studies
Sociology of Sport
Environmental Studies


Native American Studies, Sociology, U.S. History, American Studies, Sociology of Sport, Environmental Studies; "Attla"; GOOD DOCS