|SITTING BULL: A Stone in My Heart|
An 83-minute documentary film on the great American Indian Lakota Sioux chief, spiritual leader and warrior as he has never been seen before on the screen
|reviews||WHY THIS FILM|
I have always loved film and grew up on a steady diet of Western movies. It didn’t take long for me to see the painful truth that most Hollywood westerns were one sided and the Indians were more often than not portrayed as the bad guys and the white men were always the good guys. As I became older my interests matured and I focused on the history of the American West.
Many excellent books have been written such as Dee Brown's masterful 1971 book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, which tells of the unbelievable suffering inflicted on native peoples. And movies like Little Big Man in the early 1970’s and later, Dances with Wolves with their earnest and successful effort at portraying the lives of Indians as they struggled in the face of their changing world. I found myself looking for information on the subject of Native Americans and their stories. Certain historical personages come up often and the more I became involved with the subject the more I wanted to know.
Life has a way of moving us from one road to another. It was not until a trip to Montana in 2002 and a visit to the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn with its silent and somber white crosses that I decided with renewed energy to continue my work and research into the area of Native American history.
I was fortunate to find Robert M. Utley’s landmark biography of Sitting Bull, The Lance and The Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull. This biographical account of the great chief had a tremendous impact on me and I knew then that I wanted to make a film on the life of Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull’s life is emblematic of what happened to most indigenous people in the United States.
My wife, Grace, who co-produced and co-wrote the project shared my interest and together we scoured every possible source for historical information. The script was written with our commitment to make it historically correct in every possible detail. Mr. Robert M. Utley agreed to be our historical consultant and so did Dr. Donald L. Fixico, from the University of Arizona. The film covers the period from1832 to 1890. We needed to rely on photographic images to tell the story. Through various sources including the Library of Congress the Smithsonian Institution, Denver Public Library, Yale University among many others, we acquired over 600 archival images.
Our next challenge was to find an actor to portray the voice of Sitting Bull. It was crucial to find the right voice since Sitting Bull narrates a substantial part of the film. Our plan was always to use a Native American actor to give voice to Sitting Bull and finding Adam Fortunate Eagle was an answer to our prayers. Adam, an artist, ceremonial pipe maker and lifelong activist in the cause of Indian rights exceeded our expectations. We recorded him in Reno, Nevada, near his home at the Fallon Indian Reservation. We then proceeded to record William Theobald, our narrator, in Santa Barbara, CA.
With all our images and voice recording completed we embarked in a year-long process of editing and post production. We believe that we have created a film that honors the memory of Sitting Bull and tells in depth the true story of this important figure in American history. Stanley Vestal, the first comprehensive biographer of Sitting Bull wrote the following, attesting to the great chief’s stature in history:Sitting Bull, leader of the largest Indian nation on the continent, the strongest, boldest, most stubborn opponent of European influence, was the very heart and soul of the frontier. When the true history of the New World is written, he will receive his chapter. For Sitting Bull was one of the makers of America.*
I hope that this film will help people gain a further understanding and appreciation of Sutting Bull and that of this tragic period in human history.
John Ferry, October, 2006
*Quote from Stanley Vestal's biography Sitting Bull: Champion of the Sioux courtesy of and copyright of The University of Oklahoma Press
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|To purchase a DVD of Sitting Bull for libraries or educational institutions, and public performance please contact us at (805) 563-0914, email: info@LilliMar.com or fax us at (805) 456-2912.|