- Parent Category: Culture, Education & Sports
- Category: Entertainment, Movies and Art
- Published: 20 May 2008
News From Indian Country 5-08
About The Untitled Standing Bear Project:
When a dignified Ponca Indian chief attempts to return to his homeland to bury the bones of his murdered child, he is arrested and held in prison for refusing to remain where the U.S. Government has forcibly relocated his tribe. A cynical newspaperman who agrees to publish the story becomes entwined with both the case and a beautiful American Indian interpreter. The unlikely couple, together with public opinion and a progressive judge help the chief win a landmark human rights case granting him freedom; although initially the court refuses to hear the case on the grounds that American Indians are not humans. A riveting drama, the account, based on actual events which occurred in 1879, embodies powerful, painful lessons from an ugly chapter in American history and tells the story of a handful of activists who refused to bear witness to crimes of genocide.
The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express, along with the Tribeca Film Institute announced the Untitled Standing Bear Project with Valerie Red-Horse attached to direct, is among the selected narrative feature film projects for Tribeca All Access (TAA), a program designed to help foster relationships between film industry executives and filmmakers from traditionally underrepresented communities.
Celebrating its 5th year, Tribeca All Access presented 37 new projects, its largest showing ever, at the six-day event, which took place April 2126 during this years Tribeca Film Festival.
TAA provided the participating directors and screenwriters with the opportunity to present their upcoming works in one-on-one meetings with more than 100 potential investors, development executives, producers and agents. The narrative and documentary directors and screenwriters were selected to participate from an open call for submissions, which garnered over 550 entries from across the country.
An American/Irish co-production; Valerie Red-Horse is set to direct and produce the screenplay by Terry McMahon and Ross Raventos with Bart Daly of H & H Productions as the Irish production partner. Red-Horse, who has more than a dozen films to her credit, premiered her feature debut, Naturally Native at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. She collaborated in 2002 with Gale Anne Hurd of Valhalla Motion Pictures (Terminator, Aliens), to produce/direct True Whispers, the award winning ITVS/PBS documentary about the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII, which gained critical acclaim in its national television broadcast and in film festivals across the country.
Red-Horses production company has a long history of collaborating with American Indian tribal nations to bring important Native stories accurately and respectfully to the screen. In addition to the Navajo Code Talker project, other tribal collaborations include the aforementioned Naturally Native, co-produced with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation; the NAPT/PBS jazz club story, Pop Hunters Dew Drop Inn with the Powhatan Renape Nation; and a current WWI documentary with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Bart Daly (producer and co-writer) was born & lives in Dublin, Ireland. Educated at the National School, Blackrock & Rockwell Colleges he attended the University College Dublin graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Law degree (1974) and the Kings Inns with a Barrister-at-Law degree (1975). Daly worked professionally as a jockey in the racehorse business, practiced as a barrister (1975 1977) and currently owns a publishing company in Ireland, First Law Ltd. Daly has had a life-long fascination with Native American issues, historical and contemporary. He has endeavoured to make the Standing Bear story known to a wider audience and set up H & H Productions to achieve that. In the late 1980s, he recognized the need to promote Ireland as a location to attract foreign filmmakers. With Irish Government support, he conducted a positively received feasibility study in 1985 on promoting Ireland as a location for filmmaking.
Rose Birdhead (co-producer) will join the Standing Bear team attending the Tribeca events and serves as a co-producer on the Standing Bear Film Project. Birdhead is a current elected tribal government leader serving on the tribal council of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska which is Standing Bears historical tribal nation. In addition to her duties as an elected leader, Birdhead recently starred as an actress in the theatrical performance, Sacred Sites, a multi-media theater production which honored Indigenous sacred geography and events; a journey through age-old sites of great spiritual significance to Native people throughout the Americas.
In an interestingly synergistic turn of events, the same week the Tribeca selections were announced, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry introduced legislation honoring the legacy of Chief Standing Bear on the centennial of his death. House Resolution 1043 recognizes Chief Standing Bears monumental achievements for the civil rights of Native Americans. The resolution currently has 47 cosponsors.
It is clear that Standing Bears story must be told, said Red-Horse, I am honored to be given the creative reins, but it will be a collaborative effort with many individuals and groups offering support and expertise to see this groundbreaking incident come to the screen.
For further information contact:
Red-Horse Native Productions, Inc.
16421 Barnstable Circle
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
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