Tag Archives: rez bomb

Russell Means talks about women/matriarchy (video clip)

Taken from the 48 minute long exclusive interview only available on the special edition of the DVD of the movie Rez Bomb set on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation starring Tamara Feldman, Trent Ford, Russell Means, Chris Robinson, Tokala Clifford, Moses Brings Plenty, Arlette Loud Hawk

Our DVD’s are available at amazon or www.inyoentertainment.com where you can save 15% using the coupon code Blog15 to save 15% or Blog20 to save 20% when spending $60 or more. The closer we get to recovering our costs on our films the quicker we can start looking to invest more in other projects in Indian Country although it’s an uphill battle finding an audience (as discussed in my previous post).

Sensational viewer review of Rez Bomb posted on amazon.co.uk (also onsale at amazon.com)

Here’s a sensational viewer review posted on the Rez Bomb page on Amazon.co.uk (the UK site)

5.0 out of 5 stars A red and white Ulysses as much as Romeo and Juliet, 14 Sep 2009
By M. Benis

Rez Bomb is a great independent film worthy of widespread attention. Billed as a Romeo and Juliet, it’s actually about two youths on a journey not to find but to re-find each other in a world that has lost love and its soul. It’s a kind of modern Odyssey that looks at the voyage from both the man and the woman’s point of view. This and the sense of a broken world also breaks time in some ways and so the scenes do not follow a strict chronology. Some may initially find this confusing, though they are helped by subtle shifts in colour that cue you into which stage of the story you are watching.

It’s not a reservation film or an Indian film, though people with an interest in either won’t be disappointed. The original (and significantly inferior) screenplay was in fact set in the tenements of Glasgow, so even at the outset this film which has been a decade in the making was interested in the lost and dispossessed. But the theme of genocide and loss which could equally have been explored in the Scots version surfaces subtly yet with greater vigour here with the Lakotah, partly because of the physical isolation of the reservation and partly because race constantly seems to inspire greater crass prejudice than class alone, not to mention the fact that – against all odds – the Lakotah spirit has survived. If that makes it sound as if the film will be preachy, don’t worry it: isn’t. It has an altogether wider and much more deeply human vision for that.

The performances are consistently excellent from professional and amateur members of the cast alike, making for compelling viewing throughout.

Highly recommended.

This DVD is outstanding value for money, with same great documentary footage and interviews of the high plains folk, both red and white, and how their life is changing. In addition there’s a great interview with American Indian Movement activist and Republic of Lakotah spokesperson Russell Means, who also apears in the film. For those interested in the Lakotah, the DVD is worth it for this alone.

If you’ve read this far, just get it!

our DVD’s are available at amazon or www.inyoentertainment.com where you can save 15% using the coupon code Blog15 to save 15% or Blog20 to save 20% when spending $60 or more. The closer we get to recovering our costs on our films the quicker we can start looking to invest more in other projects in Indian Country although it’s an uphill battle finding an audience (as discussed in my previous post).

Want to see more films from Indian Country? YOU are the solution. Find out how.

Want to see more Native American films and TV shows? Well believe it or not you are the solution.

14 years ago I started filming a feature documentary in Indian Country, first because Russell Means asked me to film some political events but then because I had more and more people from all different sides of life on Pine Ridge wanting me to document what was going on there as well as their stories etc. Since then I’ve shot a movie, Rez Bomb, a feature documentary, A Thunder-Being Nation and a TV series, The Hub in Indian Country. In a big way it was because I was concerned that there was so little content being created out of Indian Country and so many people were telling me they wanted to see more.

A couple of weeks ago I released a DVD of The Hub, a 13 part TV series highlighting many of the most fabulous performers and artists in Indian Country. It is a highly entertaining show and I wanted people to be able to enjoy this celebration. Unfortunately in that time I have sold just 5 DVD’s in-spite of having a mailing list of people who had emailed saying they were interested in the DVD as well as being able to market it to 10,000 or so people on my own social networks related to my other Indian Country projects and being shared on others.

Ultimately the crux of the problem of why so few films come out of Indian Country is lack of audience support and participation. In The Hub we spoke with many of the great talents of Indian Country including film-makers like Chris Eyre, Steven Paul Judd, Ryan Red Corn of the 1491’s and the fabulous Georgina Lightning. They could be filming some of their own projects tomorrow if they knew there was a committed audience out there that would buy DVD’s or go see their work. Ryan’s words to us on the show “there’s not much money in making films in Indian Country” is very true.

One of the reasons for getting The Hub out so quickly was if there was a demand for it then it could cover the costs of us shooting a feature special at the end of the month at Gathering of Nations but we’ve had forget that as it looks like it’ll take a while for us just to recover the costs of getting the DVD’s made. For example V. Blackhawk Aamodt’s award winning documentary about the “Big Foot” ride, Ghost Riders is very interesting but so few people have pursued it on DVD it’s hard to obtain and if it had been well supported then he would have been able to go on and make project after project.

I am fortunate as because of other resources for other films I’ve managed to cash flow my six or seven years spent on all three of my Indian Country projects so far as they could never have been made otherwise and I’ve always made sure that we got them out on DVD into the heart of the communities they are set it. Rez Bomb and A Thunder-Being Nation are the only DVD’s being sold in numerous stores around Lakota Country because I physically went to them so that it was available to people who could not go online.

The local support helps somewhat but all us content creators need you all to pass on the word, to engage to let us know potential retailers etc. Bear in mind Hollywood spends tens of millions so you hear about their latest extravagaza whereas film-makers in Indian Country are typically broke before their projects are done. We know social media and strong support within communities can however create tipping points enough to make things happen.

The more people watch the 1491’s the more financial support they will get to make more or their amazing PSA’s for example as those dollars are all about how great is their reach.

Once the audience supports the content enough then very quickly you would be able to see a 1491’s movie or a Six Pack and Gas Money from Steven Paul Judd etc. as they would be able to cover the expense. We’d be able to make a second and third series of The Hub so people in Indian Country (particularly youth) can see and be inspired by the amazing things going on throughout their communities.

Ryan Red Corn summed it up. On Youtube Slapping Medicine Man is perceived to be a huge hit as they have almost half a million hits and yet if you search Native American in youtube there are videos getting five million hits which are cheesy flute music over a montage of stereotypical images hot natives.

What needs to happen to make the difference is for the audience to seek out the great work people are doing and let others who may be interested know about it to. It’s nice to get a pat of the back but production is going to dry up fast. But with a network of supporters helping get the word out then things can really start to build from there.

The Hub was designed to be a part of that as it was designed to be a show that brings a lot of these amazing creative individuals together and pulls the audience into the great work and hopefully build their followings which helps them get some other things off the ground.

I currently have our biggest project yet financed at the moment which is a movie adaptation of the highly acclaimed novel Neither Wolf Nor Dog. It hopefully will have a major impact on its audience but my fear is that after that I can’t justify doing any more projects in Indian Country as they take a long time to make and it’s hard when so few people are watching them.

There is great work out there and for my mind one masterpiece, Ryan Red Corn’s To The Indigeous Woman video which has only 35,000 or so hits on youtube between it’s versions (see clip below). It’s depressing that’s less than 0.1% of a cheesy flute music montage video. Lets change that.

So why is the quality content not getting the support? It is for all of you who want to see more content and films out of Indian Country to change that. Indian Country has so many amazing, dynamic, creative individuals that are ignored in the main stream entertainment world. We can break all those walls down but only if we all work together.

Thanks for listening

our DVD’s are available at amazon or www.inyoentertainment.com where you can save 15% using the coupon code Blog15 to save 15% or Blog20 to save 20% when spending $60 or more.

This is a guest list from our series The Hub presented by Martin Sensmeier, Shayna Jackson and Blake Sisk. Who wouldn’t want to watch this incredible group of individuals?

Chris Eyre Cheyenne/Arapaho
Steven Paul Judd Kiowa/Choctaw
Anthony Thosh Collins Pima/Osage
Adam Beach Anishinabe
Virgil Ortiz Cochiti
Shaunya Manus Navajo
Ryan Red Corn Osage
Cornel Tootoosis Cree
Edna Rain Cree
Ron Scott Metis
Michelle Thrush Cree
Larry Price Navajo
Chaske Spencer Lakota
Dey & Nite Arapaho
Darrell Dennis Shuswap
Nakotah LaRance Hopi/Tewa
Nicholas Galanin Tlingit/Aleut
Howie Miller Cree
Dakota House Cree
Ashley Callingbull Cree
Georgina Lightning Cree
Rayanna Zaragoza Pima
Steven LaRance Hopi
Helen Calahasen Dakota
Rulan Tangen Blackfoot
Lawrence Santiago Coushatta
Marisa Quinn Lipan Apache
Kevin Pourier Oglala Lakota
Shawn Imitates-Dog Oglala Lakota
Sho Sho Esquiro Kaska Dene/Cree
Zahn McClarnon Hunkpapa Lakota
Tchin Blackfeet/Narragansett
Bethany Yellowtail Crow/Northern Cheyenne
Mary Ann Andreas Morongo Band of Cahuilla

Stay in touch on our facebook pages
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Rez Bomb
A Thunder-Being Nation
Neither Wolf Nor Dog
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Leonard Peltier Speaks From Prison (from 2000)

Leonard Peltier speaks to Democracy Now! in a rare interview from prison, broadcast June 12, 2000. The Native American leader has spent the last 24 years of his life in prison, mainly at the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth. He was convicted of the June 26,1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Jumping Bull Ranch in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He continues to maintain his innocence. Call U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno: 202.305.1400 (comment line to voice your opinion on the Peltier case. Parole hearing is today, June 12 at Leavenworth)

Just back from another trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (from director of Rez Bomb)

I got back the other day from another fabulous three weeks in and around Pine Ridge. The highlight definitely was being Fire Keeper at Russell Means’s Sun Dance in Wind Cave in the Black Hills. It was an incredible honour to watch close up the dedication, courage and dignity the Sun Dancers held throughout the week. It really was one of the weeks of my life.

Went on a road trip around Rosebud, Pierre, Crow Creek, Lower Brule and Cheyenne River making sure the Rez Bomb DVD is available as widely there as possible so we’re not one of those companies to film in the area and never be heard of again. No other film is easier to access in certainly Pine Ridge and Rosebud.

Spent a wonderful afternoon visiting with Tom Poor Bear who updated me that there has still been no progress in the 11 year “investigation” into the murders of his family members Ron Hard Heart and Wally Black Elk. He’s a good guy and very dedicated for the search for justice.

Spent a night camping with the 100 mile horse race riders which was very cool and followed them for part of the race. Also hung out at the Oglala Lakota College graduation Powwow. So much happens on Pine Ridge during the summer and I have to say there is no-where else on earth that I get so welcomed and have so much fun. Sadly I heard today that Autumn Two Bulls who I hung out with at Red Shirt Table a couple of weeks ago is in jail now facing a $10,000 bond. (see the facebook page)

The last afternoon was a blast visiting with Leon Matthews at the Higher Ground coffee shop he owns with his wife. It’s a real classy place and Leon is always up for some witty banter.

So yet again an amazing time. It really is a wonderful place to visit.

Rez Bomb directors guest blog for Reel Injun the movie about American Indian cinema

[This is the guest blog I wrote for the site of Reel Injun the new documentary about cinema’s depiction of the American Indian. All the blogs are available at http://www.reelinjunthemovie.com/site/blog/ other bloggers include, Russell Means, Wes Sudi, Chris Eyre and Adam Beach.]

Guest blog: Steven Lewis Simpson
by admin | Friday 05 February, 2010
It’s a great pleasure writing this blog for my friends behind Reel Injun as I think a documentary is the purest and most concise method of displaying the grotesque nature of Hollywood’s depiction of the indigenous peoples, cultures and nations of North America and the fact that historically they have so consistently been denied opportunities in Hollywood to the extreme of not even playing their own people with Caucasian actors taking the roles too often. Worse than just being disrespectful, Hollywood’s depiction has twisted the psyche of an entire Nation and helped spin and skew the history of a genocide into a triumphant march of progress and greatly helped build the racism that still perpetuates today.

The irony is that the Screen Actors Guild today have rules protecting against discrimination, bound by the equal opportunities laws of the land, that actually protects this discrimination. Now I would be breaking the law to maintain the authenticity I required when casting my movie Rez Bomb by asking the heritage of the actors and actresses submitting to the film and what nation they are from. But of course I received submissions from scores of actors and actresses who looked Native but weren’t. Should I audition them? All I can say is that I did the right thing.

Rez Bomb broke free of all the stereotypes with no leather, feathers or alcohol to be seen. Just people, Lakota and white negotiating a story of love and drama that was originally written for Scotland but rewritten for Pine Ridge. The decision to shoot on Pine Ridge was out of a love of the area and people and I wanted to prove that you can shoot a mainstream story there beyond Hollywood’s perceived necessity that it must be a “culturally Native story”.

But putting that all aside we are moving forward and I think that Hollywood’s despicable history with this has so impacted us that there are great arguments over where cinema in Indian Country should go. My answer is simple. That racism shall still exist until the point where all kinds of stories are being told in all communities and to get to that point we have to further expand the range of ideas being floated out there.

Where Hollywood isn’t so prejudice is towards making a profit and when films by American Indian film makers start to make money consistently then other production money shall start to flow. Ice Cube and Tyler Perry for example have been hugely successful playing in a larger cultural market that Hollywood was ignoring. Although the American Indian market is much smaller it is sustainable for low budget films in itself which can provide a safety net of revenue for investors hoping for something that will also break out and have international appeal.

What follows then is how to create a new distribution model to serve the audience out there waiting for quality American Indian stories. And this is where you all come in. If you’re reading this it is because you are engaged. But that is not enough if you want to see the expansion of American Indian cinema and artists. There are now some very powerful groupings of us on the social networks. We all have to take part in getting the word out about the work we like from these artists whether musicians, film makers, actors, photographers etc.

How many of you out there know about the Baker Twins? I imagine quite a few. Why? Because Shannon and Shauna have worked tirelessly not only on getting themselves established in the entertainment business but also building up their profiles hugely on social networks. I don’t live in Canada so can’t access APTN but could tell you when Tales of an Urban Indian premiered on that channel because of the social networks of the twins. We are all part of that chain but it is only a chain if we all link together and pass the word around.

I was having a debate with V. Blackhawk Aamodt the other night about this issue at a screening of his documentary The Ghost Riders about the Big Foot ride (I highly recommend checking it out) and he was listing a lot of the cultural problems of the depiction of natives in various films. I understand his sentiment. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is one where I imagine the producers were patting themselves on the back for their cultural sensitivity but all they did was create another version of Hollywood Indians. Where were the Lakota women? Their absence was culturally ridiculous. White women were oppressed in white culture in those days but Lakota women were not. And where was the laughter? No matter the hardships the Lakota know how to laugh. Because the film makers didn’t have a cultural understanding of the Lakota he well missed the mark.

Now for me I have a far greater problem with that because of the historical significance of the piece than say Shanghai Noon, which also wasn’t culturally accurate but the film didn’t pretend that anything was culturally accurate. The cowboys were goofballs, the Chinese were disciplined and obsessed with honor and the Indians were free and liberated in spirit while still caught in the action of the piece. So long as everyone is treated with the same broad brush for me that’s okay. Pathfinder is not by any means culturally accurate (the Vikings were nothing like that too) but it’s a comic book type movie and nothing in a comic book movie is real. I’ve been looking at a comic book called Scalped set in a mythical Rez and it is so over the top about reservation life it would be objectionable other than for the fact it’s a comic book. New York is nothing like the Gotham City of Batman. As we start to break down the storytelling barriers there will be some depictions where we will have to be a little less sensitive because they get lost in the drama of the mainstream.

I’ve had it said about why did I focus in on a lot of the negative side of reservation life in Rez Bomb? I didn’t. It was written originally to be done in a different country with the same level of drama. And at the end of the day most films are heightened realities to be entertaining. But no-one complained that there are a lot of great looking stars in my film and that’s not realistic to life either. What a world it would be if everyone wandering around looked like Tamara Feldman, Trent Ford, Tokala Clifford or Moses Brings Plenty or with the presence of Russell Means. But it’s a movie. My previous two movies were action films about hitmen in Scotland. That wasn’t realistic but made for exciting movies.

They great thing about creating these movies that are fundamentally entertaining is that we are providing something that is very valuable particularly on the poorer reservations where people have issues over self esteem. For them to watch entertaining movies with stars from their own culture starts to redress the remoteness of a lot of popular culture to their own world. But also powerful is that when these movies travel and are seen by other people it greatly alters their frame of reference to a culture and brings it much closer in wrapped in an empathy we build with our protagonists on screen. This is where popular culture can be more powerful than anything else in society. In a short time Bruce Lee did more to alter the perception of Chinese people in the west than anything else through creating characters people admired and empathized with. I fear that deep, culturally sensitive, more arty films for all their brilliance are too often just seen by like minded thinkers. Once we break through in our storytelling when we have American Indian actors and actresses filling leading roles in entertaining movies that reach out into the world then I think we’ll see a very powerful change in perceptions. It may take time but the most important thing is that we all link up and become parts of the chain to move it towards happening.

In fact with Rez Bomb almost all the film festivals we played internationally were not Native festivals but major mainstream ones and because our leads have mainstream followings we’re finding an audience with our film that are loving it because its an exciting love story and who know nothing about reservation life. So their introduction to it is one where they’re rooting for people who live there. A nice seed to plant.

On a final note, as a Scotsman, when I was young the typical depiction you saw of Scottish characters in mainstream British television was as a drunk or as a thug or invariably both, which was a bit tiresome. Now it was a fraction of the stereotype of the American Indian in media but I am pleased to say as the Scots controlled more of their storytelling and their media this depiction subsided. I say to storytellers be ambitious and bold with your storytelling and think out of the box. Where are the legal drama’s or the teen high school comedies or the love stories? Well they’re starting to happen. Imprint is a ghost story. Turquoise Rose a coming of age drama and Rez Bomb is a love story.

We have to be optimistic. But lets face it, it can’t get as bad as the bad old days of Hollywood.

Steven Lewis Simpson

Steven Lewis Simpson is director, producer, musician and editor who started his film career working for the legendary Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures. He has directed the feature Ties (best film at the Cherbourg Festival of British Film), the documentary Timor Timor, the action feature The Ticking Man and its sequel Retribution. His latest feature, Rez Bomb, is the first universal story to be set on an American Indian reservation. His documentary, A Thunder-Being Nation, filmed over seven years on Pine Ridge Reservation, will be released soon.

Rez Bomb Standard Edition DVD now released from $12.50

We have newly released the Standard Edition Rez Bomb DVD for the introductory price of $15.00 with FREE SHIPPING for this introductory period if bought from us directly. It includes directors commentary and Trailers.

Also for those who are not fans of packaging (I am one) we are offering a version which is the same disk but just in a plastic sleeve (Netflix style) and without the large plastic case and sleeve art. This we are discounting to $12.50 with free shipping as it is cheaper for us to produce and ship and we want to offer these savings direct to you. The Special Edition with its almost four hours of extra features is still available also. They are also available from Amazon and other selected retailers.

The link to buy is in the right corner of this page.