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SITTING BULL:  A STONE IN MY HEART

83-Minutes    Black & White & Color   WideScreen

There are few places to go to get a better spirited picture of his life.            

      -Wild West Magazine

WINNER

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Big Water Film Festival

WINNER  

of Two Awards

at Fargo Film Festival


SECOND PLACE

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

and

NATIVE AMERICAN VOICES


AMERICAN INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL

(San Francisco)


SANTA BARBARA INT'l. FILM FESTIVAL


TIBURON

INT'l. FILM FESTIVAL


OJAI FILM FESTIVAL

"In John Ferry's captivating documentary the viewer is yanked head and heart...this is the Sitting Bull few people know." - Carole Levine (Native Vue, Scene 4 Magazine)

“Unlike mythic portrayals of Sitting Bull, the film achieves an even-handed, and consequently more trustworthy, approach to his battles with the white man.” -Hanna Tennant-Moore, Santa Barbara Independent

"A wonderful job in bringing to life Sitting Bull's world...what a relief to see him presented as a human being rather than a stiff cardboard cutout." - Eileen Pollack, Author Woman Walking Ahead, Paradise, New York, The Rabbi in the Attic."

"Riveting oral-historical documentary." - VueTV





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🔵 REVIEWS

🔵 TRAILER

🔵 TELEVISION AND SPECIAL SCREENINGS

AS SEEN NATIONALLY ON PBS

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SITTING BULL: A STONE IN MY HEART - TRAILER from JOHN FERRY on Vimeo.

Please scroll down to view:

Maybe then people will think about Native Americans in a different light

Like documentarian Ken Burns at his best, the viewer is yanked head and heart to bear witness as Native America’s most famous son talks about his life on the Northern Plains, the Battle of the Little Big Horn and finally, his complicated views of Euro- American culture. Except for a few lines of dialogue invented for cohesion, it is Sitting Bull’s first-person account of his life and times. And what an amazing life and time it was. "Through this man, we gain an understanding of the whole Native American story—really he’s emblematic of all of the Native cultures—not just the Sioux or North American Indians, but those from South America, Central America, Australia —he represents that struggle," Ferry says..

This is the Sitting Bull few people know. This is the man—neither the hard-hewn image emblazoned on t-shirts nor the boor caricatured in the recent HBO twaddle—who we see in John Ferry’s captivating documentary, Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart. Ferry spent four years of research to develop an oral history, the story of Tatanka-Iyotanka in is own words, recited in earnest authenticity by artist and activist Adam Fortunate Eagle.

... A standout leader even at a young age, he used his bravery and wit to defy the encroaching incursion into his ancestral lands. He reveled in the attention from performing in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, selling his autograph for a dollar or more a pop. He loved fame and developed a appreciation for ice cream and White dancing girls. When he finally met with the “Great White Father” to explain the plight of his people back home in South Dakota, Sitting Bull was insulted by President Cleveland’s dismissive demeanor. Not the treatment a man with his standing—and outsized ego—was willing to accept. Similarly, Sitting Bull found it astounding that a culture that calls itself “civilized” abused its children and allowed people to go homeless and hungry on city streets. The wealth he amassed as an entertainer was given away to the urban poor and those on the reservation in need, keeping none for his personal enrichment. It's clear that despite the allure of celebrity, he remained to his core a Hunkpapa Lakota chief; a devotion he eventually paid for with his life in 1890.


It is anecdotes like these interspersed with archival photos, graphics and a powerful score by Steve Henry and Cory and Ernie Orosco, that leave you wanting to know more. Who was this charismatic and vainglorious leader we see and hear in this film? And, you can’t help but wonder…Did he really SAY this stuff?

OTHER REVIEWS EXCERPTS


“Hearing the words of Sitting Bull in the extensive first-person narration is the best part of Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart...there are few places to go to get a better spirited picture of his life” - Wild West Magazine

“A wonderful film…informative, touching and beautiful.” -Lita Rawdin Singer, P.hD., Photographer, Clinical Psychologist

 “A powerful journey into the life and spirit of a legendary figure whom people have often heard of but don’t really know." -Jaime Snyder, Producer, Director, Writer and Singer-Songwriter

"Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart" is a film to be seen." Newspaper Rock

"Thank you for a truthful story." - A PBS Viewer


John Ferry's Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart succeeds in doing just that. And it’s a good bet that this is just what Tatanka-Iyotanka would have wanted most of all.

Yes, says Ferry, who, in addition to his years of research, relied on historian Robert Utley and Dr. Donald Fixico to ensure historic accuracy. Which increases the impact that much more. “I feel like I know him. I developed a tremendous amount of admiration for Sitting Bull’s integrity, even when you consider the whole Buffalo Bill episode in his life.” “…But more importantly, I think it’s important that viewers understand what went on, the history. I want them to see Sitting Bull as a human being,” he continues. “I want people to know more, through his words, about this shameful tragedy that happened by White incursion into Indian lands. Maybe then people will think about Native Americans in a different light.”

By Carole Levine, NativeVue, Native American Times, Scene 4 Magazine

If he were alive today, Sitting Bull would grace the covers of both Time and People and be a frequent commentator on cable news. He’d be seen on the town with the pretty and powerful while fighting to the death for the plain and powerless; he’d pose for the paparazzi, eat at five-star restaurants and break bread with world leaders. He would make money only to give it all away, living in bare simplicity. He would be a force like no other.

REVIEWS

Maybe then people will think about Native Americans in a different light.

►Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City (August 22, 2009).

►Royal Ontario Museum (5th largest museum in North America) had 8 showings over a period of 4 weeks (September 13 thought October 5, 2008), along with a special exhibition of one of Sitting Bull’s feather bonnets and other personal artifacts.

►Augsburg Native American Film Series, Parkway Theater, Minnesota.

►University of Minnesota, American Indian Cultural  House.

►Special Screening of Santa Barbara International Film Festival films Lompoc Civic Auditorium, Lompoc, CA. Sponsored by the City of Lompoc.

TELEVISION & SPECIAL SCREENINGS

Museums / Special Venues

Television

►PBS

PBS aired the film nationally November 2013 during Native American Heritage Month. PBS will continue to air the film until November 2015.  See your local PBS guide for dates and times.

►In 2008 NITV acquired the film to air nationally in Australia and New Zealand for a period of 3 years. In  2011 they renewed for an additional 3 years and in 2014 they renewed for an additional 4 years.

►Big Water Film Festival, Wisconsin - WINNER -  BEST DOCUMENTARY

►American Indian Film Festival - San Francisco (World Premiere Nov., 2006).

►Santa Barbara International Film Festival (2 sold-out screenings, Jan., 2007).

►Tiburon International Film Festival (Sold-out screening, March, 2007).

►Ojai Film Festival (Sold-out screening, October, 2007).

►Fargo Film Festival - WINNER -Two Awards: 2nd Place, DOCUMENTARY        FEATURE and NATIVE AMERICAN VOICES (March, 2008).

Film Festivals

Sitting Bull, his mother, daughter and grandchild

Sitting Bull, his family and a white woman

Bill Theobald (Narrator), John Ferry (Director), Fortunate Eagle (Sitting Bull's voice) and Grace De Soto Ferry  (Writer/Producer) at Tiburon International Film Festival