Young Lakota airs tomorrow

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“Young Lakota” Documentary to Premiere on PBS Independent Lens Nov. 25

Trailer here. Website here.

“Young Lakota” Official Trailer from marionlipschutz/roserosenblatt on Vimeo.

Young Lakota will air at 10 p.m. EST, Monday, Nov. 25, on PBS’s Independent Lens. The film chronicles Tribal President Cecelia Fire Thunder’s challenge to a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota, and the political awakening she inspires in Sunny Clifford, a young Lakota woman living on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Young Lakota was an Official Selection at the Big Sky Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, the American Indian Film Festival, and won Best Documentary at Cine Las Americas and the Smithsonian Showcase.

The Film

In a small town in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena, and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.

Sunny Clifford works as a clerk at the Kyle grocery store, living in “the housing” in Kyle, population with her twin sister, Serena. The twins — who have dropped out of college — dream of finding a way to help make things better on the reservation, but they don’t really know where to start. Their idealism is shared by Brandon Ferguson, their neighbor, who — like Serena — has young children.

All three look up to Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, as she counters a South Dakota law that makes abortion a crime, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Fire Thunder takes a stand by proposing a women’s health clinic providing abortions on the reservation but open to all local women.

But Fire Thunder’s bold proposal is seen by some as grandstanding, and the tribe is divided over both the abortion issue and Fire Thunder herself. Ultimately, Fire Thunder is impeached by her political enemies inside the tribal government (perhaps with the help of the South Dakota political right), an act that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of Sunny, Serena, and Brandon. A tumultuous tribal election to replace Fire Thunder and a state vote that defeats of the abortion ban, open a political rift between the friends, and help determine the adults they will become.

 

CREDITS

Producers / Directors: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt

Executive Producer: Heather Rae

Writer: Marion Lipschutz

Director of Photography: Gary Keith Griffin

Sound: Susan Bryant

Editors: Rose Rosenblatt, Jeremy Stulberg & Diego Siranga

Composer: Garth Stevenson

About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lens on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/independentlens.

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