As Sundance moved past the weekend it was fast becoming clear that . . . the stars of the festival line-up would not be features but documentaries. One standout was The Linguists, a fantastic little film that follows professors David Harrison and Gregory Anderson as they crisscross the globe on a mission to document languages on the verge of extinction. - Emily Poenischt, Vanity Fair
THE LINGUISTS is a fascinating journey with two men who are the Indiana Joneses of language hunters — ethnographers who go to obscure corners of the globe to find and preserve languages which are about to go extinct.
There are more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world, yet a language is lost every two weeks. Linguists David Harrison and Gregory Anderson trek deep into sometimes dangerous territories in a race against time to record these nearly dead languages. In Siberia, they search fruitlessly for speakers of the Chulym language, then discover their driver is fluent. In the Indian state of Orissa, they meet tribal children who attend boarding schools where they learn Hindi and English, but are not taught their native languages. In Bolivia, the men seek out speakers of Kallawaya in the Andes (there are less than 100 speakers), a language learned only by adults which is tied into the rituals and practices of medicine. And in the southwest United States, they meet Johnny Hill Jr., who worries he is losing his ability to speak Native American Chemehuevi, because there is no one with whom he can speak it.
In their endless quest to record the spoken word, David and Gregory are delightful new heroes. Their adventures are funny, courageous, bittersweet and occasionally naive. Throughout it all, their enthusiasm and passion for their work is positively infectious and their journey is thoroughly entertaining.
"The Linguists should really be called Dave and Greg's Excellent Adventure. It's a hoot. Ethnographers David Harrison and Greg Anderson mix passion with undergraduate humor in their serious work traveling the globe to record near-extinct languages before they're gone."
- Sam Allis, The Boston Globe
"Who knew that linguists could make for such a hot adventure movie?"
- Ruth Walker, The Christian Science Monitor
"David Harrison and Gregory Anderson make an engaging globe-trotting duo . . . "
- Justin Chang, Variety
"Funny, enlightening and ultimately uplifting . . ."
- Aaron Barnhart, The Kansas City Star
"Exciting, well-paced tale of Great White Hunters who hunt down nearly extinct languages."
- Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
Fim Festivals and Awards:
World premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Other festivals include:
AFI Dallas International Film Festival; Arizona International Film Festival; Available Light Film Festival; Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival; Berks Movie Madness Film Festival; Big Sky Documentary Film Festival; Camden International Film Festival; Filmfest Hamburg; First International Film Festival on Biodiversity and Indigenous Cultures; Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival; Frozen River Film Festival; Garden State Film Festival (Winner - Best International Documentary); Gimli Film Festival; The Guelph Festival of Moving Media; Hearts and Minds Film Festival; Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival; iDiDx International Film Festival; Independent Film Festival of Boston; International Festival of Films on Tribal Art & Culture; International Popular Scientific and Documentary Film Festival; International Science Film Festival; Ivy Film Festival; Jacksonville International Film Festival; Jerusalem Film Festival; Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival; Mountainfilm in Telluride; Mumbai Film Festival; National Geographic All Roads Film Festival; Native and Indigenous Film Fest; New Science Film Festival (Winner – Youth Award); New Science Film Festival in Faro; Phangan Film Festival; San Francisco International Documentary Film Festival; Sante Fe Film Festival; Talking Stick Film Festival; Third Annual Anthropology Film Festival; United Nations Association Film Festival; Waterfront Film Festival; Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival; and the Wisconsin Film Festival.
2010 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Science and Technology Programming.
Selected as a Realscreen MIP Pick for 2008.
Read Voice of America's discussion with director Seth Kramer.
Directed and produced by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller and Jeremy S. Newberger for Ironbound Films, 2008.