• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 46s

After 30-plus years, Alaskan film re-released

By Lauren Maxwell 8:53 PM March 6, 2014

"Spirit of the Wind" won numerous awards when it was released in 1979

ANCHORAGE - Thirty years is a long time to wait for anything, but patience is finally being rewarded for fans of a classic Alaskan film.

“Spirit of the Wind” is the story of legendary musher George Attla.

The film won “Best Picture” at the Sundance Film Festival in 1979, but legal troubles kept it out of sight, until now.

Co-writer and director Ralph Liddle recently returned to Anchorage to promote the new DVD. He said it’s been totally remastered in high definition video.

“The version that’s available now is as beautiful as the very first prints that were made of it,” Liddle said. “I’m really proud of it.”

Liddle saw Attla race in the 1960s during Fur Rondy time and became captivated by his story and his character. Attla was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a boy and spent seven years in a Sitka hospital recovering. When he returned to his interior village, he struggled to fit in with Native culture.

Liddle said he was drawn to put it all on film.

“Growing up in the rural village, being taken into Sitka to deal with tuberculosis then back to his home,” he said. “Trying to readjust and find the link between his world and the modern world in dog racing — it just seemed like a beautiful story.”

Liddle shot the movie over an entire year with almost all locals who had never acted before, including the lead role. Every scene was shot in Alaska with the exception of one. Liddle had to go to a small town in Minnesota to recreate the final race down Fourth Avenue in Anchorage. The street was re-constructed after the 1964 earthquake and no longer has the look of 1958 when the race took place.

Liddle recently watched the film with an Anchorage audience for the first time in decades. He said their cheers and laughter let him know that despite the decades, the Alaskan story is as vital and entertaining as it ever was.

Copies of the DVD are on sale at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and also at the Fur Rondy Shop in Downtown Anchorage.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Weekend weather, March 28

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 28, 18:30

  • News

    Alaska Air National Guard assists in rescue of 2 Saudi pilots from Gulf of Aden

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 18:20

    Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard, currently deployed to Djibouti, Africa, assisted in the rescue of two Saudi pilots from the Gulf of Aden on Friday. The pilots were rescued off the coast of Yemen after they ejected from their F-15 aircraft, according to various news outlets. Approximately 120 Alaska Air National guardsmen from the […]

  • News

    16 Black Hawk helicopters back in Alaska, ready to help with civilian emergencies

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 15:20

    Sixteen Army Black Hawk helicopters are back in Alaska and ready to help with civilian medical emergencies after spending nine months in Afghanistan. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1MgUB22 ) reports the military helicopters supplement Alaska’s civilian fleet of about two dozen medical helicopters operated by private companies including Life Flight, Life Med and Guardian. In […]

  • Crime

    Man injured in leg in West Anchorage shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 14:15

    Police say a man was struck in the leg by gunfire in a shooting in West Anchorage Saturday afternoon. At around 1 p.m., witnesses say there was a disturbance between two groups of people in a parking lot near the 1300 block of West Northern Lights Boulevard, according to a release from the Anchorage Police […]

  • News

    Government Hill resident reads found letter from 1964 Alaska earthquake

    by Sierra Starks on Mar 28, 13:36

    Friday, March 27, marked the 51st anniversary of the devastating Good Friday earthquake. On that day, just after 5:30 p.m., violent shaking erupted without warning across Southcentral Alaska. It has become known as the most powerful earthquake ever in North America, taking the lives of more than 100 people. This week, Alaska lawmakers passed legislation to […]

  • Politics

    ASD, state lawmakers spar over budget concerns

    by Joe Vigil on Mar 27, 22:51

    First state lawmakers fired off a letter criticizing Anchorage School Board members for passing a budget that included nearly $12 million cut by Gov. Bill Walker in January. Now the Anchorage School Board president is firing back with a letter of his own to state lawmakers. In that letter, Eric Croft says that while the district […]

  • News

    Amanda Knox grateful to ‘have my life back’ after court saga

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:25

          SEATTLE- Amanda Knox says she’s grateful “for the life that’s been given to me” after Italy’s highest court overturned her murder conviction in the slaying of her roommate. Speaking briefly Friday evening to reporters outside her mother’s Seattle home, Knox expressed her thanks “for the justice I’ve received and for the support […]

  • News

    House panel moves bill addressing municipal marijuana regs

    by Associated Press on Mar 27, 21:19

    A bill addressing how municipalities regulate marijuana businesses has moved out of a House committee. The House Judiciary Committee moved a new version of Rep. Cathy Tilton’s bill, which would help define a municipality’s role in regulating marijuana businesses, set a maximum household limit of 24 marijuana plants and add marijuana clubs to the list […]