The award-winning 1979 movie Spirit of the Wind is based upon the early life and rise to prominence of the legendary Athabaskan trapper and dog musher George Attla, Jr., who won the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous World Championship race an unprecedented ten times between 1958 and 1982.
The film tells the story of young George Attla growing up in the interior village of Huslia, being diagnosed with tuberculosis and spending several years away from home in a Sitka hospital. Upon returning to his village he struggled to rejoin the cultural fabric, and fast sled dogs became his saving grace, taking him to ten World Championships. He also won eight championships in the Fairbanks Open North American Championship race, and in 1973 he ran the inaugural 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, placing fifth even though his experience was in sprint racing, and not long-distance mushing.
With dramatically beautiful photography and a haunting musical score, Spirit of the Wind won the Best Picture Award at the 1979 Sundance Film Festival. It was an unexpected hit at the Cannes International Film Festival the same year, and was hailed by the New York Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and many others as a stunning achievement in cinematography.
The DVD can be purchased from Jade Boutique in Fairbanks, Alaska.