Native filmmakers from Pine Ridge have recently launched a campaign to bring forth the voices of Native peoples by telling “our own stories, rich in our culture and heritage, and to produce and share them with the world” and seek to produce their first short film The People.
The following comes from Indigene Studios indiegogo fundraising page:
In an effort to build representation for Native American/American Indian creatives and filmmakers, we begin our journey by bringing life to our first short film, produced by our independent production company: INDIGENE ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS.
in·di·gene (/’indiˌjēn/) noun
“an indigenous person.”
INDIGENE ENTERTAINMENT STUDIOS (or “Indigene Studios”, or just “Indigene”) is an independent creative house production company that we founded on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Our mission is to tell our own stories, rich in our culture and heritage, and to produce and share them with the world. We want to bring our Native voices into the digital era through film, photography, and theatre. As young creative artists, we strive towards being innovative and forward thinking in how we produce our projects and distribute them to the world. We move toward telling unique stories that blend universal themes with our own distinct narratives as indigenous people.
We continue to strive toward changing the negative representations of indigenous peoples (starting with our own people, the Lakota oyate) through a diverse and personal look at contemporary Native people, using engaging and enlightening non-fiction and fictional creative projects. By taking great care, we hope to foster a positive conversation about Native ideals and issues with our audiences.
Our communities on the reservation are an important part of Indigene’s development. We want to get them involved in all projects we produce. Community involvement provides us the opportunity to develop programming that will give educational training and on-set experience. This programming can be used by the young, aspiring artists within the community to aid them in their creative careers. Indigene’s goal is to create a collaborative and thriving local community of creative Native American artists, who are pursuing professions in the industry of film, media and entertainment, with hopes to diversify the industry.
This is only just the beginning of an exciting contribution to the ongoing efforts within Indian Country to bring about a truly rich and informed representation of the diverse Indigenous people here in America.
THE PEOPLE – short film
Set in a dystopia 71 years into the future, Native lands and rights are gone. The government as we know it now no longer exists; it is controlled by a small faction of rich politicians. Left in waste, reservations become encampments and are heavily guarded by private military security. Poverty and oppression lay ruin to every Native tribal nation within the former U.S. The cause, an insurgency led by an indigenous human rights group called, The People, against the forced construction of a massive oil pipeline through Native territory in the year 2051. This insurgency was the beginning to the Second American Civil War and an end to the democracy the country was built on. 8 years of fighting, a new system is born: Oppress the insurgent, contain the problem, use fear to foster obedience, and only then will there be peace. This is the world our protagonist is born into.
Our film begins 34 years after the start of The People’s insurgency; the year is 2085. Desolation shadows the land. 26 years in this world, our protagonist finds himself ready to fight for a better life for the ones he loves. With his parents no longer alive, his culture nearly gone, and his heritage existing only in story, he plots an escape to a rumored place where there may be a chance at a better life, and he is willing to die trying to get there.
This film observes issues that are very contemporary to today’s Native American communities, issues involving the lost of culture and language, the struggle of land rights and treaty rights, the movement to protect and preserve heritage. It places these issues into a dramatic and surreal world where we can look at them from a new perspective. Our film also deals with universal themes and elements that a diverse audience can identify with and relate to. It’s a unique narrative that explores our humanity and the choices that define our destiny.
For more on Indigene Studios and to support their campaign go to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-people-a-short-film-by-indigenous-filmmakers